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Jamar Pickreign, Ph.D The Math "Wars" "Fuzzy" Math vs. "Parrot" Math

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education Post WWII - war experience revealed much math illiteracy. Yet "orthodoxy" reigned. Inadequately prepared teachers Use of "rule and rote" textbooks Computational "tricks" ruled 1957 Launch of Sputnik- mad dash to reform mathematics to respond 1960s 70s "new math"

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education "new math" ideas, however, were not "universally" successful in part because of difficulty "upgrading" teachers Impossible to make every teacher a Max Beberman Also because of "sudden" transitions Children having never experienced "new math" suddenly having it "thrust" upon them in a higher grade

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education Consequently, anxiety resulted in both children and their parents who never had such experience Publishers began "jumping into" the "new math" but some were guilty of pasting "new math" onto "old" or calling "old math" "new"

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education School districts "hopped on to the new math bandwagon" but neglected to provide support and training to their teachers Frightened "traditionalists" refused to budge. Some thought "new math" meant ignoring basic skills and drill and practice

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education The expectation that "new math" would result in a miracle "quick fix" in the aftermath of Sputnik resulted in a lot of premature decisions which, not surprisingly, failed So, came the "back to basics" cry in the mid 70s

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education 1980: NCTM, still concerned about helping children "make sense" of mathematics, produced an "agenda for action" 1989: NCTM published "Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics"

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D A Brief History of Math Education Reminiscent of "new math" Standards-based mathematics has often been referred to as "new- new math" by those "back to basics" advocates. Despite the desire to help children "make sense", this standards-based math sometimes deserved this derision 1990s: the "math wars" rev up and become more politicized than they were in the 70s 2000s: ….

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D "Fuzzy" Math Rooted in"constructivism" Math should "make sense" to learners Children should be thinkers, not "storage bins" for thinking done by others

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D "Parrot" Math Math in schools should be confined to arithmetic Acquire facts (often out of any real context) first in the belief that these are necessary to become problem solvers Memorization and rules, firmly established as successful by centuries of math, dominate (why "reinvent the wheel?")

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth:"Standard-based" mathematics has resulted in depressed test scores (NAEP, TIMMS) Fact: Most students tested have received "traditional" instruction

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth: "Reform-based" mathematics is untested Fact: The research support for these methods and materials is vast. (This myth of "untested" may be connected to the lack of presence of this type of math in classrooms.)

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth: "Reform-based" math requires that teachers allow learners to "discover" everything on their own Fact: "Reform-based" math allows learners to grapple with ideas, but this is guided. "When you teach a baby to eat, there comes a point where they no longer want to be spoon-fed. They want to feed themselves. But parents still buy the food. They still cook it. They still put the baby in the highchair" (James Merlino, Director of the Greater Philadelphia Secondary Mathematics Project).

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth: "Reform-based" math is based on a "radical" theory of "constructivism" Fact: Promoting "understanding" is hardly "radical This notion is probably rooted in a misconception of constructivism and the previous "myth"

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth: "Reform-based" math ignores "basic skills" Fact: NCTM describes a "worthwhile mathematical task" as one that, among other things, "fosters relevant skill development"

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth: Mathematics content knowledge is sufficient for teachers of mathematics Fact: Mathematics content knowledge is necessary for teachers of mathematics.

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Some Math Ed Myths and Facts Myth: "Parrot Math" advocates and "Fuzzy Math" advocates have different goals for learners of mathematics Fact: Both desire learners to develop computational fluency, problem solving ability and reasoning ability.

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Goals for Students Learn to value mathematics Become confident in their ability to do mathematics Become mathematical problem solvers Learn to communicate mathematics Learn to reason mathematically

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Shifts in classroom environment from "traditional" to "reform" Toward classrooms as math communities and away from classrooms as collections of individuals Toward logic and math evidence as verification and away from teacher and textbook as source of authority Toward math reasoning and away from mere memorization of procedures

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Information from various sourcesJamar Pickreign, Ph.D Shifts in classroom environment from "traditional" to "reform" Toward conjecturing, inventing, and problem solving and away from emphasis on mechanistic finding of answers Toward connecting math, its ideas, and its applications and away from treating math as a body of isolated concepts and procedures

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