Mar 4, 2012 by

"Say Kids, What Time Is It?

Comments sent to me by experienced high-school math teacher

Yesterday our math team had an event at U. of XXXX, and one of the associate provosts was there to talk to us math team coaches (all math teachers) about teaching initiatives at U. of XXX, including TILE classrooms.

TILE is an acronym for Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage and basically it is a high-tech (and VERY expensive) classroom where students all sit at round tables of 8-10 people, laptop plug-ins in the middle, and large monitors on the walls, which are otherwise glass whiteboards.

The intention is for the teaching to be project-based and intended to be done collaboratively in groups, with little instruction from the teacher, and for students to use clickers and other gadgetry to help them proclaim their knowledge of mathematics.

The mathematicians who were there were clearly less than excited about this approach, and spoke of the woes of having so many undergraduates in need of remedial math.

The undergraduate chair cited the statistic that when a student at U. of XXXX tests into remedial math (by way of the math placement exam given to all students), it reduces the chances of getting a degree in ANY major down to 30%. Pretty incredible! And it’s a strong testament to the need for much higher expectations in K-12 math education.

They (the mathematicians) are preaching to the choir when talking to us math team coaches, as we all teach students who are quite proficient in math. However, we all have great difficulty getting elementary teachers to comprehend the need for much stronger computation skills and proficiency with all operations involving fractions (without calculators), so that we can have higher numbers of students learning and understanding algebra.

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