Wednesday, October 20

The requirement of four in math filters out people who shouldn’t be excluded

  • Simen spurkland
My experience is that all students can earn at least the third grade in math. Everyone can understand a lot in some way, writes Simen Spurkland.

My idea of ​​what good math teaching is came with the credits. Not with the high school grade.

This is a discussion post. Opinions in the text are the responsibility of the writer.

I struggled for a four in math when I went to first grade high school in 1991/1992. During the last test for the subject, I remember it going black when I had to use the formula to convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Today, 30 years later, it is a good anecdote to tell to students, since the same formula is natural to use in teaching. The motivation that students feel in being able to say that they were better than their math teacher when he was their age, I use it for what it is worth.

Today I am a teacher, among other things, in mathematics, with 180 credits related to mathematics. When I started as a teacher in the subject, I had 15 credits, which is equivalent to a quarter of a year of study.

He wasn’t a good math teacher …

The perception came with the credits

During the years after graduation in 2000, I took various courses and continuing and higher education. By the fall of 2011, I had worked my way up to 60 credits. With the credits also came reflection and understanding.

It was in the 2011/2012 school year that I made radical changes in my teaching of mathematics.

Later he became a teacher specializing in mathematics and mathematics didactics.

The point is that my understanding of what constitutes good math instruction and good instruction in the basic skill of arithmetic came with the credits. Not with the high school grade.

Everyone can get at least 3

As a math teacher, I have fought a battle against wind turbines all these years. A struggle against an attitude towards the subject that is both sad and frustrating: it is okay to say that you are not good at math, and there are many sufferers who say just that.

Given the experiences of the time you had in school, the impression may be correct. But that is not reality.

My experience is that all students can earn at least the third grade in math. Everyone can understand many things in some way.

But not everyone gets to abstract language in math, where letters and numbers in a more or less beautiful union should streamline what are often exciting, creative, interesting, and fun considerations of the world around us.

The responsibility of teacher educators

What strikes me, and which is in a way the main reason for my opposition to the fourth requirement, is that it gives mathematics an undeserved role as a provider of premises for quality or status.

Both the Pisa definition of being mathematically literate and the Education Act mandate for Norwegian schools say that we must work to create engaged citizens who can participate in society and, among other things, make well-considered decisions.

Such citizens manage to commit and make good life decisions without the help of Pythagoras, pi, sharing with the rest or various strangers.

It’s when I create assignments and projects where students really see the connections in the world, that math becomes more than just math.

All four requirements filter out who should not be excluded. I believe that it is the responsibility and privilege of teacher educators to ensure that those who are educated have the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies, so that through their teaching they are able to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to dominate their lives.

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