Teach Less Math for Better Results!

Math Mark

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Here is an article
from Psychology Today by Peter Gray, a specialist in developmental psychology
and research professor of psychology at Boston College, that supports one of
our foundational premises here at LearningSuccess™ Institute–students need to
mature into skills such as math (and reading), without formal instruction and
grades, until they are at least 10-years old.

 

Early formal
instruction and grading of skills actually complicates and decreases learning. By
the time kids are 10 or 11-years old they have already had many experiences
adding things together, subtracting, even multiplying and dividing things up.
Guided by their innate curiosity and their endless experimenting that we call
play, they have “matured” into understanding how mathematical functions work in
the world. They have a practical understanding of what they mean. When they are
given the algorithms for them in 5th or 6th grade, they
have a backlog of experience to apply them to. The algorithms are another piece
to an emerging puzzle they have already been putting together for years.
However, when they are given algorithms before they understand the function of
addition and subtraction in the world, the algorithms are just mysterious
strings of codes and procedures to memorize. Students don’t know what they apply
to or mean; no wonder they can’t remember them.

 

The sad truth is
that most teachers, educated in schools where the algorithm came before
understanding, teach strictly by rote, relying primarily on a continual stream
of worksheets and drills to do the teaching. Beyond basic addition and
subtraction, they don’t actually know why the algorithms work or what they are
for. Woe be to those Inventing and Thinking/Creating students who ask “Why do
we do it this way?” “What is this for?” and worse yet have a different way to
work a problem.

 

We hope you enjoy
this article! 

When Less is More: The Case for Teaching Less Math in Schools by Peter Gray in Freedom to Learn, Psychology Today, 3-18-10

copyright 2011 by Willis & Hodson, Reflective Educational Perspectives LLC

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