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More math teaching experiments

By Murray Bourne, 06 Jun 2006

Dallas Morning News education writer Holly Hacker in a recent article National panel pursues formula for excellence in teaching math (link no longer available) describes yet another attempt by the Americans to improve mathematics standards. This time it is a panel of experts appointed by George Dubya and led by Larry Faulkner.

Two extremes of math education are described:

  • Drill and kill ("Do these 100 exercises and get them right before you can go to lunch")
  • Constructivism ("Solve these problems and discover algebra in the process")

Faulkner (rightly) is trying to address these opposing views by proposing a "Common Ground" initiative, where both approaches have a place in mathematics education.

Hacker also mentions the success of the Singapore model for teaching mathematics. Ah yes, but would it translate into the US model of individualism over group goals, dumming down of society over regarding education as the key to success and spending a minimum on education over spending adequately on education?

Oprah Winfrey has also picked up on this theme of education spending. According to an expert on her show, spending on one student in school is 1/4 of the spend on that person if they are in prison. This is significant because the majority of incarcerated persons are high school dropouts. But I digress.

The great education experiment continues in a school near you...

See the 4 Comments below.

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HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
    `a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)`
    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.


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