Thursday, July 19, 2007

Does this sound eerily familiar?


11 comments:

Tony said...

Okay, so I have a question. What happens to a math teacher who supplements the reform curriculum with structured traditional lessons? Are they reprimanded or fired? I mentioned in a comment to an earlier post that I think teaching should go way beyond the textbooks. If the teacher is really knowledgeable, they ought to be able to guide the discovery in such as way so that it is efficient. Are TERC teachers somehow restricted from doing this?

Tony said...

Check out this post for a centrist perspective.

www.mathnotations.blogspot.com

Surviving the Math Wars - Both Ends Against the Middle

concernedCTparent said...

Great question. Other teachers would be a good source but my best guess would be "it depends on the district/administration". In my district some teachers supplement Everyday Math(most) but it is not at all consistent. Some supplement heavily and others less so. I don't believe they do it openly, however, as it seems to be looked down upon.

I would love to know what other teachers have to say about it. If you find out, please share your findings.

Anonymous said...

A teacher I know gets "spoken" to at least once a quarter over supplementing Everyday Math because the district recieved a grant to use EM and supplementing is a no-no. She refuses to cave, she hates EM and says you have to supplement. oh - her class did quite well thanks to her -- only 2 kids out of the group were proficient on the state test. the rest were advanced. kudos to a teacher but a shame she has to take such garabage over it.

concernedCTparent said...

Getting spoken to about supplementing doesn't surprise me. What other explanation would there be for keeping it on the QT? Good for that teacher who is looking out for the best interest interest of his/her students and shame on the administration for bowing down to a publisher before meeting the needs of students. Priorities are certainly in the wrong place in that scenario. Unfortunately, I expect this is the case in many districts including my own.

J.F. said...

As a teacher who has been frustrated for years by the amount of material we're supposed to cover the fact that the "reform" curricula move slowly and thoroughly is a fabulous trend in education. Teacher fed information is neither truly learned nor retained nor usable. Only when students have time to sythesize and process and make the learning their own will they really be learning.

I do realize that there is a difficulty with students of mixed ability levels in the class - the brighter kids risk boredom. Teachers should be grouping the quick ones together so that they can move onto greater challenges when those at a lower level are paired with like minds so their discovery will be their own - or won't.

concernedCTparent said...

In the spirit of Aristotle's belief that an educated mind should be able to entertain a thought without accepting it I have to disagree with the statement that the fact that "reform" curricula move slowly and thoroughly is a fabulous trend in education." I find it to be far from the reality in most classrooms using popular reform math programs.

I would honestly love to know which reform curricula you refer to. In my experience, in the case of Everyday Math, the curriculum moves haphazardly and superficially over most topics and clearly discourages teaching to mastery in favor of moving on to whichever unrelated topic comes next in the text because students who didn't get it the first time around will pick it up later. The publishers are so busy trying to meet every state's standards that you end up with a hodgepodge of topics that are a "mile wide and an inch deep". That's why the NCTM felt the need to publish the Curriculum Focal Points.

I find it terribly worrisome that important topics like fractions in 4th grade are not explored thoroughly at all and long division is not taught in depth either. This is a serious handicap for students who rely on what is taught in school to build a strong foundation in math. It's just not going to happen unless a teacher or parent heavily supplements the material.

As for the belief that Teacher fed information is neither truly learned nor retained nor usable. or that Only when students have time to sythesize and process and make the learning their own will they really be learning. to be shortsighted as well. I must respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree based on what we have learned about the human mind and long term memory. Learning takes place in many forms and discovery does not claim the monopoly on learning or teaching of any subject, particularly not math. Far from it... just ask the cognitive scientists.

I do agree that we need flexible ability grouping, however, and yet reading through the reform math philosophy one finds that this practice is highly discouraged. Schools eliminate ability grouping once they adopt reform math programs. The programs are sold to districts as one stop shopping for mixed ability classrooms that meet the needs of all. In practice, of course, this is far from the case.

parent tired of educrats said...

to J.F.

"Teacher fed information is neither truly learned nor retained nor usable. Only when students have time to sythesize and process and make the learning their own will they really be learning."

take the rest of the summer and read (thoroughly) about Project Follow Through ... conclusion, direct instruction is the MOST EFFECTIVE method

your statement is but a spewing of Ed School propaganda

concernedCTparent said...

Agreed. Every educator should read thoroughly about Project Follow Through. It should be required reading in every school of education. The fact that the results remain buried is a travesty and a diservice to our children. If you are a teacher (or a parent) PLEASE read about Project Follow Through. It just may change your perception of the reality in our school system today.

Georgia Mom said...

I have personally contacted our superintendents repeatedly for six years over Everyday Math and Connected Math. I have an engineering degree and try to afterschool my kids, who now hate the word "math." All three children tested as "gifted" in elementary school, but the 8th grader cannot remember 6x8, 7x6, and 7x8 - she guesses incorrectly everytime. She does not know how to draw out a division problem and divide. She cannot convert a fraction to a decimal. If she is in the advanced class (taking geometry and algebra in middle school), what are the remainder of the students in the system doing?? The administrators refuse to listen, because they are the "experts." I am only a parent (with an engineering degree). Some of my kids' teachers refuse to use the Everyday Math, but of course the school system credits any high test scores from those classrooms as proof of EM success. ugh.

concernedCTparent said...

Georgia Mom...Ugh indeed.
It's incomprehensible, isn't it? So many people feel like you and I do. Why is something so obvious so difficult? I'm early in the game but I'm starting to believe I just may be better off homeschooling. It just doesn't appear that things will change in time for my children.