kitchen table math, the sequel: Barry's book is out!!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Barry's book is out!!

Teaching Math in the 21st Century

I got my copy in the mail this week, opened it up to a random page, and instantly found a paragraph to post:
Well, OK, I like open response questions too, but I get rather tired of the "it's inauthentic if it's multiple choice" mentality. I took the math exam required in California to be certified to teach math in secondary schools. The multiple choice questions were not exactly easy; I would hesitate to call the exam "inauthentic." What I find inauthentic is the prevailing group-think which holds that judging math ability should be based on how well students in K-12 are able to apply prior knowledge to problems that are substantially different than what they have seen before. In the working world (which the education establishment tries to emulate by insisting that students be given "real-world" problems) most people employed in technical fields are expected to apply their skills to variants of well-studied problems. For those who need to solve problems of a substantially new nature, it takes weeks, months and years--they are certainly not confide to a two-to three-hour time limit.
I love that.

The real real world is so different from the real world constructivists imagine.

Speaking of which, my district is now committed to "instilling a culture of entrepreneurialism in our students."

Flipped classrooms, stations, and now pretend entrepreneurialism.


Froggiemama said...

On what planet is this happening? "how well students in K-12 are able to apply prior knowledge to problems that are substantially different than what they have seen before."
My kids are so well prepped and drilled when they take the state tests that they absolutely have seen all the types of problems before. It is very routine for them.

Unless the author is really referring to variations in one class of problem. In that case, yes, kids should be able to handle variations, and if they can't, they didn't really understand the material.

Robin said...

That is the definition of Rigor as in Norman Webb's Depth of Knowledge that PARCC and SBAC use as well as many other state 'tests'. It's why assessment is the more apt term. Higher Order Thinking Skills means the same as Lauren Resnick of the Common Core validation committee and the related New Standards Project made clear back in 1987. My point was actually to say that constructivists believe that the present reality can be changed if we can simply move away from 'technical', single-right answer coursework that fosters that individualistic Axemaker Mind.

SteveH said...

And what happens in class is often quite different from all of their fancy talk. My son's sixth grade teacher had them learn science terms by having them draw crayon pictures - a different learning styles idea. Never mind that all kids had to use that different learning style. My son was never given a task and then allowed to do it however he saw fit. The teacher wanted them to learn "mere" facts, but did it by forcing all kids to do it with a visual/artistic learning style. Generally, schools and teachers use fancy words as a veil or curtain.

My son's school put all of his work (including tests) into portfolios that were kept at school. Parents had to make special appointments with individual teachers to see the material. This was not a sophisticated or pedagogical issue. Their reality did not match the words coming out of their mouths. They just wanted to do their thing and keep parents away from the details.