Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TEDTuesday: math class needs a makeover

This week's TEDTuesday talk is from Dan Meyer and is a deep criticism of math education.  Some quotes for your consideration.
  • I sell a product to a market that doesn't want it but is forced by law to buy it.
  • The way our math textbooks teach math reasoning and patient problem solving is functionally equivalent to turning on "Two-and-a-Half Men," and calling it a day. 
  • The math serves the conversation.  The conversation doesn't serve the math. 
  • Math makes sense of the world.  Math is the vocabulary for your own intuition.

In our school we are in the middle of a curriculum review, a comprehensive look at what it is we teach and when we teach it.  We are bound by a lot of constraints, including, but not limited to traditional models, standardized testing, textbook availability, teacher expertise, and time.  It is a good conversation, one I think all schools should have on a regular basis.

But what I love about this conversation is what comes next.  Once a school truly decides exactly what needs teaching and when, teachers are free to start thinking about content delivery, to consider the questions of HOW content is taught rather than simply what. 

It's an exciting time to be a teacher with new apps being developed all the time, every present, readily available technology, and open source materials. 

There's a lot to talk about in Dan Meyer's talk, but perhaps there's even more to discuss in your own school.  What are YOU doing to give your classroom and mathematics a makeover? 


  1. "Math makes sense of the world. Math is the vocabulary for your own intuition." - Love this declaration. My 14-year old self would not agree but my current, 20-something year old self would vote this up in a heartbeat. Wish I had opened my mind more and maybe a little creativity in teaching back then would made math a well-loved subject.

    -Layce from Mymathdone.com

  2. It is our goal as math teachers to make math a well-loved subject... unfortunately as teens, we often have many other priorities...