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Learning Math Step by Step

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Bogusia of Nucleaus Learning offers an instructive explanation of why schools teach advanced math.

Teaching advance math is like teaching a baby to walk. Of course, it is not absolutely necessary, and we could get around with only arithmetic (and many people do this). As teachers, however, we should realize that the world is designed for people who know advanced math, and instead of crawling, with the skills of math our students can get up on two feet and run.
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I consider advanced math a barrier to learning. I could not learn math. Therefore, I could not become a doctor. While I have a decent life as a special educator and am an expert in my field, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. No student should have to go beyond arithmetic to get into college or to graduate from high school. There is no functional value to it. I could not pass Algebra II. I could not take a lot of science because teachers kept inserting math into otherwise interesting courses which lowered my grades.

I would have been a great physician, made very good money and gotten much respect repairing the bodies of children with disabilities. There is nothing wrong with being a teacher. I connect kids with severe disabilities to the world around them. But the difference in pay is probably $200,000 per year and I get little or no respect. I took AP English and remedial math and had to have tutoring to pass that. It was such a waste of time. I would have been in special education for math if it had existed at the time.

The math barrier needs to be removed for verbally smart students who are being held back by disabilities in math. Reading and writing are necessary to function in the world, Beyond arithmetic, math is not.

Sherry, you would probably enjoy anything written by Dr. Mel Levine, a pediatrician and clinician who posits (like Howard Gardner) that children have strengths and weaknesses in various areas as well as different learning styles, and we should teach to the strengths and not the weaknesses. Math was your weakness, as it was mine.
I took basic math in college in summer school so I wouldn't have to deal with more than 4 weeks of it. And my older daughter failed math in college and needed a tutor. She is in public relations and doesn't need math. We need to revisit curriculum related to what we need to know to practice a particular profession. And by the way,I am a special educator too--teaching math to 3rd graders!

Speaking of learning styles and teaching to strengths...check out www.petalslearning.com

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  • Brent: Speaking of learning styles and teaching to strengths...check out www.petalslearning.com read more
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  • Sherry Brown: I consider advanced math a barrier to learning. I could read more

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