Friday, March 28, 2014

Why multiples strategies makes sense.

I received this story from a teacher who prefers not to be named:

I have been a teacher for the past five years. Although I am not a math teacher now, I did have the opportunity to teach math when I completed my APT a few years ago.

Now before I proceed, I should inform you that I struggled with math when I went to school. I barely passed Math 30 Pure and quite frankly, despised the class. So when I found out that my placement was teaching primarily grades 4 and 5 math I was concerned.

I was given the task of teaching addition to the students. Simple right? Wrong! The new math had me very confused as there were multiple ways to teach students how to add. Growing up, I had learned one way: start on the right and work your way to the left, carry the one, and so on. The math that I was required to teach had me doing things that I had never learned to do. It took time for me to understand this new way of thinking.

Now, at this point you're probably thinking that I'm bashing the new math curriculum. However, I am doing quite the opposite. When I actually sat down with the material and tried to teach myself how I would teach these youngsters this different way of adding, I began to understand! All of the sudden the old algorithmic way that I had learned didn't matter anymore. This was a new way that

I could understand because it was teaching to how I learned! Teaching my students was also a success! My struggling students were able to see different ways of learning, and although they still had their challenges at times, I was able to explain to them why we add this way.

Many times people have shown me that other current math teachers have signed a petition around bringing back the old curriculum and this experience has shown me why.  I assume that these teachers simply don't "get it".  They are trying to show our current students the poor strategies they were shown.  Do this and you will get the right answer, without any explanation.

I hated how math was taught to me because I was forced to solve one very specific way and now that I have learned multiple ways, math has become more enjoyable.

No comments:

Post a Comment