Monday, June 23, 2008

And So It Begins - Failing to Prepare Teachers of Elementary Math

Please read the article 90 Percent of Colleges Fail to Prepare Math Teachers. This one comes from the Virginian Pilot.


  1. ouch. ouch. ouch.

    I'm often horribly disappointed, though, when I attend math workshops with fellow teachers. I think there is a cycle. Poor math teaching leads to crops of poor math thinkers who then become poor math teachers. Sorry to say so, but that's been my experience in elementary schools. Besides teaching my own twenty-six students with with methods I learned at home, rather than teach them with those I didn't learn so much from at school, I don't really have any good answers for this conundrum.

    I did post a couple of my favorite math activities on my blog today.

  2. and just to be clear: my bad experiences were in my K-12 schooling. My methods classes at the University of Utah were all fine. but again, i was the only student who'd had math through calculus and was often one of only a handful who understood both the math and the methods we were learning to teach math...

  3. Ooh. This isn't pretty. I am fairly bad at math, which is why I didn't go into elementary education, but got my English major like everyone else who is bad at math, which was disappointing. It makes me sad to think that the reason I did so poorly was perhaps that my teacher was unprepared to teach me, and it still depresses me a little that I left rather than pass on what I knew were major inadequacies -- I really wanted to teach, I thought, but it's just as well that I didn't.

  4. Oh, I know this one hurts, Tricia. I hope, though, that it turns out to be an opportunity to beef up the offerings I know you're already working on, and to work with the folks who know how to do this well. Alas, like Amy and TadMack, I didn't meet those folks during my own sojourn as a K-12 student... so it's been going on a long time!

  5. I'm so sorry, Tricia, especially since I know you pour your heart and soul into your work.

    Hang in there, though I know that sounds trite.

  6. Tricia,

    I read the article a few times, and, like the commenter at the end of it, it seems fishy. Who is this group to declare themselves the arbiters of the Standards? And who says that having their particular Standards really means better preperation in practical terms? It just seems over the top and slightly hysterical. Of course I only have the article to go on, so maybe the report is more logically coherent.

    To actually get any sort of sence of how the current eductational requirements are playing out, you would have to look at the results achieved by the recent crop of teachers who have been through that system, and filter out everything else. Then to compare those results with other states, I imagine you'd have to do a whole lot of filtering for socio-economic variables.

    So I say humph to the study, and hope you can slam a mental door shut on it!