Tuesday, May 31, 2005

it is a math world

An interesting, yet incomplete, little column on math teaching in the Washington Post.

Summary: math activists are angry at the National Council of Mathematics Teachers over curriculum and teaching strategies.

The old "new math" war, again.

For what it is worth, I tend to side on the "make them memorise the damn multiplication tables" side of the argument.
And I think calculators are an abomination for students, at least before age of 12 or 13.
(When I worked as a bar manager, one of the mostly successful strategies was to ban bar workers from adding orders on the cash register, they were supposed to have the total correctly in their head by the time they reached the register. The VAT man hated us. - Which reminds me, must retro-blog on USTA Bars someday...)

But... personally I would have loved a little more flexibility and imagination in some of my math teachers, and some of the new math stuff really stuck (like set theory and theory of base N arithmetic really was good for me at a tender age, I just don't know if it really aided most of my fellow students in understanding the intricacies of life).

So I am a little torn.


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