oh, those concepts?

Posted on October 3, 2012

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So, the idea that students in the U.S. learn procedures and all too often don’t develop the concepts is not particularly arguable.   “Successful” math students are good at cranking out answers.  Some folks manage to figure out the concepts, but in spite of, not because of how it’s taught in too many places.   (To y’all who are doing your best to focus on them, keep on fighting the good fight!)

EdWeek tells me here that some teachers in utah are doing their own thing with books.   It will be all about *doing* math — math as a “learning experience.”   So, I asked myself as an “active reader,” “okay, will they be doing math problems, or will there be experiences in tune with concept development?”   I was encouraged by:

“She added: ‘We wanted to teach our students in a different way, to make sense of the mathematics and make connections.'”

… but then I read this:

“‘We’ve replaced the explanatory text with math tasks. … The book is really a guide to help teachers take students through learning experiences.’

The teacher’s edition does include explanatory text for each task, helping teachers understand the task’s goal and the particular standards addressed, and suggesting whole-class and small-group activities. The student edition has homework assignments for each task.

The authors say there’s plenty of places students may go online for explanations of particular concepts.”

Oh.   Okay.  We will explain the math to the teachers.   The students — they get … homework.   Of course, the “in class and small group activities”  might be all about concept development (but no, I’m not holding my breath)… but leaving the language and explanation out and saying that there are “plenty of places to go online” — gee, what makes me wonder if maybe concept development is getting an even shorter shrift than those evil traditional textbooks?

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Posted in: math, rant