Thursday, June 7, 2007

When "reform" no longer means constructivist...

"That children would cheer for math time is, by itself, a victory."

Math Reform Looks Like a Reason to Cheer
Published by Hometown Publications
Stratford Star, June 7, 2007

The children cheered in one third-grade class at Lordship Elementary School this year when their teacher said it was time for math.


Florek, Beliveau and Paslov said apparent improvement is due to the district-wide math curriculum reform implemented at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year.

The new curriculum shifted the focus from a constructivist teaching approach to a more traditional one, and replaced all the math textbooks with new ones that were easier for students, parents and teachers to understand.

To some extent, this curriculum reform harkened back to a "culture war" debate that raged in the 1990s, pitting progressive teaching ideas favored by liberals against "back to basics" methods favored by conservatives. School Supt. Irene Cornish's decision to switch seemed to place her in the conservative camp.

One might consider the political polarization of teaching as rather silly. Constructivism, which holds that students learn by "constructing" knowledge rather than absorbing it, isn't effective without a basic foundation of skills and facts.


Read the full Stratford Star article here:

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