"The problem with maths is that it is taught in way that is disconnected from the children.Which sounds jolly reasonable. I was ace at maths at school- a real test-busting kiss-ass. And to this day I still have no idea what differential calculus is actually for. The mysteries of SOH CAH TOA are as opaque and as inscrutable today as they ever were. Like SIRI, Apple's inexplicable attempt to corner the market in devices that say, 'Sorry: I don't understand,' to people, it makes sounds, but without comprehension.
"They don't see how it is relevant to their lives. It is presented only through abstract concepts, rather than in terms of experiences."
The problem is, though....even when I was at school (Scotland, eighties) we used practical examples ALL THE TIME. If we weren't trying to work out the compound interest of bank loans, or the average speed required for a lorry to get from Brighton to Beirut, stopping off at the Westfield Wagamama's (and spending twenty five minutes there) before tea time, then we weren't doing much else.
But that would appear to be arithmetic. And even Plato observed that 'a slave knows that half of a circle is a semi-circle.' There is a basic level of geometry and arithmetic that speaks to us on a very emprirical level, demonstrably true by reference to experience.
|'I vant you to vork out how many stressed teachers you can count.'|
'He added that the approach was not the same as old-fashioned mathematical "problems" which were often contrived and irrelevant to children's real life experiences.'
Oh really? So tell us what brave new world of practical, real world dilemmas will seize and engage the young mind....
'For example, decisions on where to build a village bypass or how to advise someone on medical treatment have a mathematical element'
|Sesame Street took it too far.|
But best of all- BEST of all, and I have been saving this until the end, is the idea that....
'He suggested that older pupils might be asked to approach questions with moral dimensions through mathematics.Can you hear that sound? That's the collective sigh as maths education finally breathes its last gasp, realising that intelligent people who are listened to consider that maths and ethics are somehow two subjects that should be taught together. I felt the same way when, as an RE/ Philosophy teacher, I used to be required to show how I was conveying numeracy to my children (thanks Numeracy strategy. Now F*ck Off), and I was left scratching my head and asking, 'Why?' before feebly mumbling something about tithes and zakah. I used to mock this idea, saying that I would justify my numeracy approach in Philosophy, the day they asked maths teachers to teach ethics and metaphysics.
For example, decisions on where to build a village bypass or how to advise someone on medical treatment have a mathematical element - but ethical considerations and social costs that are harder to quantify also play a part'
And these are the people telling us how we should teach? Give me strength. This is an idea that no classroom teacher could have thought up, or would have felt comfortable even bringing up in a department meeting, let alone take to the governors. Yet another pot pourri of naivety, wishful thinking and irrelevance, that would be funny were it not for the fact that some of it gets through and hits us, like a blunderbuss filled with birdshit, right in our faces. And on the kids, which is worse.
*Ahem* Teacher Voice. Needed now, more than ever.