Monday, June 27, 2016

Why Johnny Can't Add

From my article in the Summer edition of the Classical Teacher magazine, "Why Johnny Can't Add":

This is one of the most controversial aspects of modern math pedagogy: the complicated way in which it proposes to teach simple arithmetic. This is not an accident and is, in fact, very intentional. The idea behind this “multiple strategies” approach is to intentionally complicate the process of learning arithmetic in order to force the student to think about the procedures he is learning. The more strategies employed to teach a child to solve simple arithmetic problems, goes the reasoning, the better off he will be. 
This is exactly the opposite approach to that taken by traditional educators. If we were to haul the teacher in my father’s one-room schoolhouse into a modern math classroom, her first impression would be that the education world had been turned upside down. She would wonder why we had completely over-complicated a simple procedure. And if we were to tell her that the reason we were doing it was to get children to understand arithmetic better, she would get out the dunce cap and put us on a stool in the corner.
Read the entire article here.

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