Thursday, February 19, 2015

Teaching in the 21st Century

I cannot comprehend questions like "Should I rent or buy?" or "Which credit card is the best for me?" if I have no knowledge of the basic facts of mathematics (ie. addition, multiplication, percentages, interest rates). How can you ask a student to find out the number of grains of sand on an average beach? Open-ended questions like this seem wonderful to ask, but create anxiety in our students since they usually aren't given the proper tools to answer the question and their short-term memories cannot hold all of the relevant information.

I do think that modelling appropriate behaviour and teaching certain skills is OK to do, but NOT as a substitution of basic facts and working knowledge. The more a student can commit to long-term memory, the more we empower our students to be able to answer the difficult questions they will face later in life.