Jane, you ignorant so-called news-caster…

Posted on July 2, 2013

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In the “just saying” category: http://kfor.com/2013/07/01/memorization-nets-little-retention-in-teaching-math-skills/ goes from the idea that memorization “to the exclusion of thinking ” is a bad thing to a not-clearly-stated but generally sort of rah-rahed at idea that well, gosh, we really don’t need to memorize anything.
A paragraph is stuck in there saying that there’s a place for it, because not knowing basic math facts was really messing students up trying to do higher math, but then that was followed by saying that gosh, standardized tests will allow using the INternet so people won’t have to memorize as much.
This reminds me of some of the more poorly constructed formula essays done by beginner students. However, this wouldn’t have gotten a passing grade even in our pre-college level classes. You’re supposed to successfully debunk your “opposing point” paragraph, not simply end up indicating that soon our assessments will support this bad teaching that will not prepare students for higher level math, though I’ll grant that *some* of our teachers would have perpetuated the “okay, you completed the assignment and it looks like a reasonable effort” route and passed the student along, but happily we do have teachers who say “you didn’t get the job done. Try again if you want a passing grade.” TV personalities don’t have to worry about that, though. Just smile pretty!
I had always thought that Saturday Night Live statement would be something that I ever actually (if silently) verbalized (tho’ even my initial visceral verbality left out the last word of the original…) This thoughtless “who needs education anyway” stuff passing for news just has to encourage teachers to let little things like whether or not their students learned the basics slide, and/or to perpetuate the idea that somehow there are Two Sides: the “You must memorize everything!” vs. the “Memorization is not real thinking! Don’t bother with it!” camp, both of which are dead wrong. (“You must drink enough water! No, you must eat enough food!”)

Couldn’t help but notice people couldn’t comment on it. Oklahoma City has my sympathies…

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Posted in: math, rant