In the News: Math Scares Your Child’s Elementary School Teacher — And That Should Frighten You

Students working on math problems on a white boardIn the Los Angeles Times, Daniel Willingham tackles a problem of teaching math: “teaching deep understanding to elementary students requires that teachers have that understanding themselves. Studies consistently show many don’t.”

He’s skeptical of turning the best math teachers into coaches of other teachers: “Rather than coaching others, the best math teachers should teach children. A corps of teachers with deep understanding of math and how to convey it could be full-time math instructors, beginning in kindergarten.”

In the Fall 2019 issue of Education Next, two articles tackle the topic of math education. Joshua Zucker, an instructor with Art of Problem Solving, talked about the importance of teachers asking questions:

In a classroom or textbook, the questions are often just prompts for following the steps and getting the answer. I want to ask questions like, “How did you approach that? What did you try here?” That kind of query is much more inviting; it says, “I want to know about your thinking.” I’d like to see a lot more questions like these in classrooms throughout the country.

The Education Next issue also includes an article about how privately run programs are stepping up to meet the need for math education that goes beyond mere computation.

— Education Nex

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