Repost: We Need More Patient Problem Solvers

I posted this about a year ago, and what I love is colleagues who say, “Hey did you see this?” I’m just really happy they are finding it their own way and sharing with everybody. That’s a very important reason why some educators blog, tweet, and whatnot.  It’s not about whether they read it then or not, it’s that it creates a culture of sharing and continued reflection and growth. I was very happy to see my colleague post this TEDx talk. (By the way, I’m headed to my first TEDx event in a few minutes. All about inquiry,  innovation, and identity through instruction. I can’t wait. I will share via twitter to try an encourage our faculty into the positive and responsible use of social media even more.) Twitter is how I scored the ticket to the event!

I’m not a big fan of text books. Good tools, perhaps and also convenient. Still, it doesn’t make us better teachers. Furthermore, textbooks in many ways dumb down ideas. In math, textbooks tend to encourage the “one way to get to the right answer” kind of questions. I was great at at decoding textbooks and thus was very successful in high school. But how does someone get an A in a subject like physics and have no clue how the world works? Kids really need to understand how things work rather than learn to manipulate formulas. Students have to come up with problems, reason, and have patience.

His wonderful TED talk explains the problem with math in this country today. Making math real is what it’s about. In second grade, when a child asks, “How many more minutes to recess?” resisting the temptation to tell them and saying instead, “There’s the clock,” provides a real need to learn how to do it.

When you dine with friends and its time to split the bill, it’s amazing how often people pull out their calculators to divide and then calculate the tip. Often they are the same people who knew how to use the quadratic equation at one time. Something is not right in the way math is taught. Hopefully, we as educators learn how to it better.

He’s got a good blog:


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