## Steven Leinwand for NCTM President

September 5th, 2012 by Dan Meyer

I voted for Steve Leinwand for NCTM President just now and I think you should do the same. He explains eight reasons for his candidacy on his website, which has this content license in the footer:

My mission is to promote progress in mathematics teaching and learning. Please use the material and resources on this site in any manner that facilitates the improvement of your mathematics curriculum instruction, assessment or policies.

So make that nine. Check your e-mail. Vote early. Vote often.

**Featured Comments**

After the Professional Development I spent with him this summer, I would vote for him to be President of the Universe!!! Seriously… Everyone needs to vote for this guy!!!

I love Steve Leinwand. His video is amazing. His book is amazing. He has already influenced my teaching greatly and I can’t thank him enough. He’s got my vote!

He is so inspiring, funny, smart and thought-provoking. I appreciated his speech last year at the WMC Green Lake Math conference. I would vote for him too!

Can we write Steve in for the November 6 Presidential election too?

on 05 Sep 2012 at 6:37 pm1 Kelly BergAfter the Professional Development I spent with him this summer, I would vote for him to be President of the Universe!!!

Seriously… Everyone needs to vote for this guy!!!

on 05 Sep 2012 at 6:38 pm2 Nathan KraftI love Steve Leinwand. His video is amazing. His book is amazing. He has already influenced my teaching greatly and I can’t thank him enough. He’s got my vote!

on 05 Sep 2012 at 7:19 pm3 Molly OlsonHe is so inspiring, funny, smart and thought-provoking. I appreciated his speech last year at the WMC Green Lake Math conference. I would vote for him too!

on 05 Sep 2012 at 8:06 pm4 Andrew StadelSteve is an exemplar IGNITE speaker. If you don’t get fired up about teaching mathematics when watching or listening to him, you just might not have a soul. I’m on my third read through of Accessible Mathematics and I have this vision of Steve excitedly delivering it to me every time. Can we write Steve in for the November 6 Presidential election too?

on 06 Sep 2012 at 8:57 am5 Eddie SacroboscoIs this the same Steven Leinwand who said that

“It’s time to recognize that, for many students, real mathematical power, on the one hand, and facility with multidigit, pencil-and-paper computational algorithms, on the other, are mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s time to acknowledge that continuing to teach these skills to our students is not only unnecessary, but counterproductive and downright dangerous. ”

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/1994/02/09/20lein.h13.html

This quote is from 1994 and unless he’s changed his mind, I would not recommend voting for this guy for anything let alone head of the NCTM. He appears to have a fundamental misunderstanding of math education.

on 06 Sep 2012 at 9:00 am6 Bob Lochel“President” seems too formal of a title. Can we go with “Grand Poo-Bah”?

Honestly, it would be great to have leadership that can not only inspire teachers to strive for better instruction, but could also serve as a face for national math education. Math suffers from a big P.R. problem, as math is still often seen as a rigid, bland colossus by both our teaching peers, and by the public. Who better than Steve to emphasize the excitement and beauty of math.

on 06 Sep 2012 at 10:23 am7 Dan Meyer@

Eddie, my sense is that Leinwand’s 1994 quote puts him at least two decades ahead of his time. It won’t be long before multi-digit long division with pencil-and-paper seems as antiquated as log tables and slide rules.on 06 Sep 2012 at 12:01 pm8 Eddie SacroboscoThe analogy I often use for the impact of technology on learning computation is that of transportation.

Simply because we have cars, planes, bicycles, segues and the like doesn’t mean that we don’t learn to walk. Do you see many people using motorized transport to get from room to room in their home?

Not developing the number sense that you and Leinwand seem to denigrate will put students at a significant disadvantage. I personally don’t believe that learning computation through technology generates the degree of number sense that pencil and paper does – in the same way that driving your car everywhere doesn’t help you be a better athlete.

Regarding long division in particular, I would direct you to James Milgram’s paper on the importance of long division.

on 06 Sep 2012 at 2:07 pm9 Dan MeyerIt’s an interesting analogy,

Eddie, but it seems to recommend, also, that we should spend precious class time on the use of log tables even though we have technology that obviates it. The analogy doesn’t have any jurisdiction that I can find.None of this is to say that students shouldn’t know that 843 divided by 293 is closer to 3 than 2. I don’t disagree with you on number sense. That’s quite a bit different than the long division algorithm for multi-digit numbers, though.

on 06 Sep 2012 at 3:53 pm10 Eddie SacroboscoHi Dan, I don’t think that log tables and interpolation are necessary any longer – but the four basic operations on whole numbers, fractions and decimals are important to build number sense.

The logarithms would be like riding a horse or sailing – something once very useful but no longer needed. But like walking and running – computation is the basis for everything else (and keeps us healthy!).

I believe that students build their number sense from doing calculation themselves. I’m not an absolutist but I think that the students should be given sufficient time to engage with the algorithms and achieve some level of proficiency before they shift to technology.

Thanks for taking the time to respond respectfully to a minority opinion!

Knowing what the “black box” is doing requires a certain amount of training – otherwise I believe that the students will only be able to follow in others footsteps rather than blazing their own trail.

I see this with technology – people are dazzled and say “How can I use these great (pre-set) features?” rather than thinking “How can I get this gadget to do what I want it to?”

In some ways technology is limiting, but don’t get me wrong, it’s also very enriching!

on 07 Sep 2012 at 6:27 am11 Christopher DanielsonEddieJust to be clear, we are discussing the unpublished one with zero research references?

on 07 Sep 2012 at 9:31 am12 Eddie SacroboscoHi Christopher,

Yes, that is the paper I’m referring too. I didn’t mean to imply that it was peer reviewed research – just that it is the opinion of several math PhDs backed up by what I find to be persuasive argument in favor of long division.

By the way I’m not married to any particular algorithm. As Hung-Hsi Wu points out – given a divisor and dividend a and b respectively what is important is finding q and r so that b=a*q+r in an efficient manner whatever that might be.

I sometimes speak to my students about “obstacle course” problems. These are not skills problems – these are decision making problems in which several different skills are necessary at different points throughout the problem. Long division is one of the first places I think that students encounter this as it generally requires their estimation, multiplication and subtraction skills to complete.

on 11 Sep 2012 at 4:26 am13 AndreaI couldn’t agree more about Steve for NCTM president! He’s always willing to roll up his sleeves to do the hard work needed to help teachers improve their math instruction! I’m fortunate enough to have benefited from his advice and expertise many times. He needs to be at the helm of NCTM!

on 11 Sep 2012 at 5:49 pm14 mr bombastic@Eddie, I would say that paper and pencil arithmetic might be a little better than calculators for number sense, but mental arithmentic is really what is needed. I have often wondered if better number sense could be developed through the use of calculators that provide a visual image as numbers were entered and computed – some sort of visual to give a sense of scale.

on 11 Sep 2012 at 6:24 pm15 Dan MeyerThe QAMA Calculator is a weird little tool that might have some potential here.