E-mails and comments welcome from teachers and learners of all ages.  
November 03, 2002
Maths - the traditional way

I saw this link, I kid you not, on a van parked in Twickenham. It is for a company called Accelerated Education Publications whose slogan is "Teaching the traditional way."

Which doesn't sound right. Traditional and accelerated don't normally go together. So, I decided to have a look at the website. It turns out that maths teaching has been so badly undermined by trendy teaching methods and the National Curriculum that no one knows how to teach it anymore and that old is the new new.

Sounds like a good market to be in.

Posted by Patrick Crozier at 05:09 PM
Category: Maths

"Maths is Method!"

This is one of the most abhorrent things I've heard about mathematics education in a good long while. This is exactly the sort of thing which makes people believe that mathematics is a sterile, pointless activity practiced only by strange nerds and accountants. In any case, what follows is even worse.

"I believe that if you learn a method the understanding will drop in afterwards. After all, who would build a house by starting with the windows and bricks. Surely there must be a timber frame first?"

The timber frame is understanding. If people don't understand what they are doing, then they don't see a point in what they are doing because there isn't one. I've experienced this over and over again in teaching myself mathematics--the less you understand, the harder it is. If you teach children how to do subtraction or long division without making them understand what they are doing, then you've trained an extremely slow pocket calculator who is just as helpless as one when faced with a genuine mathematical challenge.

"Maths is method" is a good way to get students to hate mathematics. That's not to say that modern textbooks are effective at "teaching concepts," as their authors would like to believe, but a myopic focus on memorization and mechanical ability with algorithms is just as far a step in the wrong direction.

Comment by: Lucas Wiman on November 5, 2002 06:55 AM

Hello ! My name is shomprakash sinha ray . I would like someone to
solve the following maths (Physical numerical) problems:-
1 . A body travels 2 m in the 2nd second and 6m in the next four seconds . What will be the distance travelled in the 9th second ?
Courtesy--Numericals in physics , S . Malhotra . Second edition
2 . A body travels 10 m in the first 3 seconds and then 15m in the next 4 seconds .What is the velocity at the end of the 8th second?

Comment by: Shomprakash sinha ray on May 19, 2004 09:15 AM
Post a comment