The question is not, “how best to teach mathematics?” The question, educator, is “how best for YOU to teach mathematics?”
The debate over what constitutes “good” math instruction flares up over and over again. We are over 25 years into “reform” mathematics curricula, which started with the publication of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards (1989), and has its deeper roots in the “‘new math” after Sputnik was launched in 1957. In recent years, in Canada you may recall the 2015 CD Howe institute report, which gives recommendations for educators on how best to teach mathematics, including the idea that teachers should consider a balance of 80% direct instruction, versus just 20% what they call “discovery” instruction. The debate is usually characterized as being between “back to basics” advocates, and “reform” or “discovery” mathematics advocates, and that’s partially true, although the real truth of modern math classrooms is by no means as binary as newspaper articles on the topic would have you believe.
Here’s an image that might depress you.
Originally posted on Matthew Oldridge’s personal blog, seen here.
About Matthew Oldridge
Matthew is a Resource Teacher of Effective Mathematics with the Peel District School Board (yes, we have the best job title!). He has been a teacher of mathematics and other subjects for over 15 years, and is always learning and growing. Recent reading and research interests are spatial reasoning, and coding and computational thinking in the classroom. Make our classrooms mathematical thinking spaces, always! Let your students surprise you with the power of their creative and unique mathematical thinking!
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