As I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I happened upon a post that made me laugh and cringe at the same time.
Now, you might be thinking “lighten up Francis!” I mean you make fun math music videos so you must have a sense of humor, no? No one loves a good joke more than me, but why is it always about math? We do not read things like…
“I’m glad I learned about Haikus instead of how to read. It really comes in handy when I’m searching for a job.”
Yes, there is some truth to this, as for some-the math that is currently learned in the classroom might not actually be used. But that is ok! By sending this message out there, it is inadvertently working against the current trends in math education which focus on the importance of problem solving, perseverance, logic, and much more.
Here are some ways that together we can help promote a culture of learning mathematics.
1. Mathematics teachers need to share their passion for mathematics. How can we get our students excited about learning math if we are not excited about the content that we explain for an hour a day? Be enthusiastic instructing in class and let every student know how great math really is!
2. Focus more on conceptual understanding and less on procedures. The days of solving 25 of the same exercise using the same method for class work and then another 25 of the same exercise for homework needs to end. We should know after our students solved five of them if they can do the procedures or not. No need for fifty or more of the same thing.
3. Make math more playful. Games and exploration are underutilized in the math classroom. Why do we deny this amazing pedagogical opportunity? Let’s turn math into a creative endeavor.
The best argument made for the need for change comes from Sunil Singh. Read this now!