July 23rd, 2014 by Dan Meyer
Elizabeth Green compiles the history of math education in the United States from New Math to the Common Core:
Americans might have invented the world’s best methods for teaching math to children, but it was difficult to find anyone actually using them.
She also tours through some of the best ethnographic research you’ll read in math education but doesn’t cite two of them explicitly (that I counted) so I will.
- A Revolution in One Classroom: The Case of Mrs. Oublier (Cohen, 1990) describes how one teacher’s transformed beliefs failed to transform her practice.
- Candy Selling and Math Learning (Saxe, 1988) describes the informal math Brazilian children used to sell candy and how it failed to translate into formal classroom math.
It might be worth noting that the paragraph about ‘answer getting’ seems to be referring to Phil Daro and his whole take on answer-getting.
Simon Terrell writes about his trip to Japan with Akihiko Takahashi.
Dan Goldner on his resolutions:
Of all the great things to focus on in this article, this is the one that spoke to me where I am now. Student-initiated in 40%, not 100%. 41% of time practicing, not 5%. Half the time on invent/think, not all the time on invent/think. I’ve been working so hard on making “invent/think” the dominant activity in my room, that practicing, which is also a cognitive requirement for learning, has been de-emphasized. The next paragraph in the article acknowledges that Japan isn’t perfect, either, and these percentages certainly aren’t a perfect recipe. But as my personal pendulum finds its equilibrium it’s great to read this and take from it the encouragement that that all the modes of learning have to have a place during the week.