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Mathematical Middle Ground

September 15, 2007 pm30 8:13 pm

Just a quote from Math Mom. I’d say it differently, but not better:

I’m advocating for a middle ground — a position where math need not be only dull drill-and-kill mastery of basic skills. I believe in the direct teaching of basic skills, but I also believe in the value of using fun, interesting, and challenging problems as a tool to help spark more interest in mathematics, to help practice basic skills in a different context, and to give kids the thrill of the “aha!” moment that one gets when solving contest-style math problems, and the resultant confidence and self-esteem that comes from struggling with something difficult and succeeding.

This is part of the discussion at Math Notations on Part 1 of the Steen interview. It is from comment #20…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    September 15, 2007 pm30 8:21 pm 8:21 pm

    Out of curiosity, how would you say it?

  2. September 15, 2007 pm30 8:32 pm 8:32 pm

    With exaggerated self-importance and pomposity. See here.

    The normal-speak version, without justification is:

    We should teach math in the same order as it was traditionally taught (more or less), but with a far greater variety of techniques than was used in the previous generation. Hands on, games, off topic problem solving, emphasis on process.. all good.

  3. September 15, 2007 pm30 9:07 pm 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Feel free to jump in over there. ;-) I’m about at the point of agreeing to disagree with SteveH, personally. But you may be able to speak more to the public school question than I reasonably can.

  4. Jackie permalink
    September 16, 2007 am30 3:01 am 3:01 am


    You’ve been doing great job!!. I backed off a few days ago…didn’t feel like I was being heard). I may have more time tomorrow to jump back in – and I do have a few comments on the interview.

  5. Jackie permalink
    September 16, 2007 am30 3:03 am 3:03 am


    Thanks for link, somehow I’d missed your “Outlook”.

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