I visited Dangerously Irrelevant by Dr. Scott McLeod today and found some useful information involving my content area of math. The articles that I found both involve the reformation of the way that we teach mathematics in America. I believe that the reformation needs to happen. Obviously our test scores aren’t competing with other nations in the world so some sort of change needs to happen. I hear way too many of my peers talk about how much they hated math in high school and I believe that this is because our teachers don’t do a good enough job of making it applicable and interesting. One way I believe that we can make math more interesting is by challenging student. Instead of focusing on memorizing equations and steps have students focus more on problem solving skills. In the video What if Khan Academy was taught in Japan? you can see the differences between how a Japanese math class looks versus and American math class. The difference is striking.
While teachers in America jump in anytime the students are struggling, in Japan they let their students struggle and let the students collaborate and then interject only when necessary. I’m currently in a math class that the professor uses this technique and I can already tell that the information is sticking better than any other class I’ve been in. Another way that you can make students interested is by making their skill applicable. I found a link from Dangerously Irrelevant leading me to a blog post written by Alfie Kohn called For the Love of Learning. In the article he talks about how we focus too much on giving students time to learn when we should be more concerned with students having engaged learning. This is basically arguing learning needs to be qualitative rather than quantitative. Studies have shown that students actual learn faster when they are learning information that means something to them. Why spend more time memorizing something a student will just forget when you could be helping them discover something so that it will stay with them.