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February 24, 2007

Comments

lori

Beautifully said. When I watched the video, I thought that the "older" algorithms produced faster results, but that some of the "newer" ones, although longer/slower, seemed to enable a better conceptual understanding of what was going on mathematically. As someone who had a harder and harder time with math as it got progressively more abstract, I can say that I would have benefited from the "newer" methods. It might have been worthwhile for me to learn the "newer" ways first and then learn the older, shorter ways.

loribird

How interesting. I always had trouble with math as a kid, but had wonderful teachers (at a very small private school - bless my parents for scrounging to give me a good education!) who encouraged me to "figure it out your own way." They were able to work with me during and after classes to make sure the concept was being grasped; so long as I was coming up with the correct answers, the process getting there was okay. It was in a college calculus course, during a "review" section, that the "right" way to work out the problems finally clicked - I was so excited to see them BOTH ways that I laughed out loud - the professer was amazed that I'd been getting good marks without "understanding..."

Jan

I was taught these alternative algorithms back at UF when I was studying to be a teacher. I did use a few when the traditional algorithms didn't work for individual students. All children are DIFFERENT and the meteorologist seems to have lost site of that.

Dana

OK, I've seen it circulating, but haven't actually watched it. There is a lot of "bad" methodology in public schools, but a lot of it has to do with parents not understanding what is going on and oftentimes with teachers and districts latching on to a single aspect of a single approach.

For example, as much as "whole language" attracts the derision of many, it isn't all that it became in the schools. It is how I teach literacy, and how most people probably do. Now it tends to be called "balanced approach." You can't have a good reading program without teaching students phonics, and whole language as it was taught to me in teacher training has a good foundation in phonics. But it deals with the other aspects of reading as well.

I'm taking a guess that some of these math programs are similar. You cannot learn math if you do not understand basic computation. But basic computation isn't all there is to it. You need both.

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