Sunday, June 26, 2011

So - Just Do the Math

So how many people do you know that "can't do math", or just aren't good at it?
Chances are you may just think you're one of them, especially if you're reading from my beloved homeland of South Africa, where sadly our students repeatedly score in the lowest ranks of all the countries in the world in our maths & science understanding, according to the WEF (World Economic Forum)

Our schools seem to be doing a dismal job at teaching math and an even worse one at fostering a love of it.

The vast majority of people I know proclaim to hate the subject, which is kind of odd cause their daily lives and their favourite activities are littered with it...think about it, sports, baking, or even decorating your home.
So perhaps we can all do it, even if our schools & teachers told us we couldn't?

I personally am starting to think that you can't fail to learn math just by living your life.
OK so perhaps it's not hight level stuff but you learn the math you need to get by when you need it.

Recently I read an interesting article on learning maths.

Basically the article talks about a child directed learning centre whose students typically learn the entire math curriculum, from Grade K to Grade 12 in 8 weeks!

It seems incredible at first but these aren't wunderkinds and the article goes on to explain there's no magic involved, it's all just maths.

When the teacher achieving these results contacted a math specialist friend regarding his finding the response was

“Not surprising,” mused his friend.

“Why not,” asked Greenberg, having had the wind at least temporarily removed from his sails.

“Because everyone knows,” he replied, verbally stomping on Greenberg's ego, “that the subject matter itself isn't all that hard. What's hard, virtually impossible, is beating it into the heads of youngsters who hate every step. The only we way we have a ghost of a chance is to hammer away at the stuff bit by bit everyday for years. Even then it does not work.”

But why don't you head on over and read the article for yourself here

And as an aside - once again I've found myself led back to the concept of unschooling
Because these children from the article learnt their maths when they decided it was time, and when they were ready!

1 comment:

  1. While we don't 'unschool' I agree with everything you and the article says. I studied mathematic's at a tertiary level because I was good at it and therefore really enjoyed it. :)

    However I was likely enough to have a WONDERFUL teach from grades 4 - 7. He made maths come alive, sadly though he is the minority rather than the majority. So while we do follow a curriculum, if I/the kids don't like something and I feel it's a valid concern we approach it differently and find a better(MORE FUN) way of doing it. :)

    I have an aunt who is a montessori expert and has her doctorate in pyschology and eduction, she has always maintained that EVERY child irrespective of i.q. should be able to do maths & science to matric. IF they are introduced in the right way with the right environment. None which our current public or private education system IMHO fails dismally at.