Sunday, August 16, 2015

Myriad Math Memes Make Me Mad

I am SO FRICKING FED UP with all these posts, memes and videos about common core math sucking, "if they taught us math this way we would have liked it" and "we learned it "THIS WAY”, I COULD SCREAM. There I just did it.

In my experience, every meme, video and post I have seen has shown math skills that WERE TAUGHT. These posters may not remember or have grasped the concepts. Most of these complaints involve mental math, number sense and geometric sense.

As a math instructor and lover of mathematics, what most people don't understand is the BEAUTY OF MATHEMATICS. They don’t use much higher mathematics in their everyday lives. They don't see the patterns, values and relationships. But they are blaming teachers, school districts and now common core because they didn't understand it and spread these destructive memes that discredit today’s educational endeavors.

Can you honestly say that you remember EVERY SINGLE math lesson you were ever taught? No—and I don't either. I am still learning with every math lesson I teach: a new insight, understanding and relationship with the world of logic, patterns, symbols, algorithms and values. We are all on a different plane of understanding in each area of our lives, INCLUDING MATH.

Mathematics is beautiful, entertaining, the language of the universe. Don't blame the teachers, standards and school boards because you don't remember it the way it is being taught today. Because students learn and understand in so many different ways, different approaches to instruction (including instruction in multiple algorithms for solving mathematics problems) are ESSENTIAL to education in today's world of ever increasing speed of knowledge acquisition, use and transference. This is what you DEMAND from teachers and DESIRE for your students: individualized education in today’s currently overflowing public school classrooms. The only way to do that is to teach MULTIPLE methods of problem solving, enhancing students’ opportunities for understanding and encouraging them to discover their own strengths and weaknesses. Can we do any less to properly prepare our students for their future in the workplace and society? NO. We owe it to them. They deserve it.

So go ahead, post your memes and complain about standards, but remember that as you propagate information that you perhaps do not understand yourself, you poison others who have the most influence on the students of today and the future—their parents.


Copyright Aug 16, 2015  Penny Lee Soutar