They did it 'My Way'
Original post made on Mar 14, 2010
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 12, 2010, 12:00 AM
on Mar 14, 2010 at 8:49 am
I liked the story overall. It's good to hear about successes in our schools, and how caring teachers and school leaders are providing better instruction to students who have been underserved in the past. But I didn't like the subheadline - "Math program developed at Foothill College brings deficient students up to par." The phrase "deficient students" has a negative connotation that casts aspersions on the students. Many students across the country have difficulty learning pre-algebra and algebra concepts and skills, especially when taught using traditional methods. Instead of "deficient students," you could have said "students who were falling behind" or "students who need extra help."
on Mar 14, 2010 at 9:33 am
I guess it will be tough when deficient students get to high school or college and eventually find out, one way or another, that they are falling behind, never caught up, or just not particularly good at math, algebra or calculus. Best they learn now what deficient means. It doesn't necessarily carry a negative connotation unless the self-esteem police get involved.
on Mar 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm
My child has been in this program the whole school year and I disagree with the positive light this article sheds on Math My Way for several reasons.
Students have to rewrite EVERY instruction and EVERY question....this takes a tremendous amount of time that I think should be spent on learning math, not penmanship and the ability to copy something that is already usable(the worksheets have space for the students to put answers on them but they have to recopy everything). What would take ten minutes actually takes 30 mins because they spend most of the time recopying instructions, headings and questions.
Many of the worksheets that are handed out clearly state at the top that it is THIRD grade math...this is detrimental to the self-esteem of the seventh grade students. Teachers tell the students you are doing third grade math. It is not third grade math, it is MATH plain and simple.
Assignments come back and forth from school to home several times until they are "perfect", even if one answer is not boxed the student must start a new page with new headings and rewrite that whole question just to box the answer.
Students skip around the modules to find pages they can complete quickly to please their teachers and then don't really know what they have done and haven't done. Very confusing.
Students are basically taught by reading the instructions at the top of each page. There are no hands on manipulatives, no real world connection, no direct teacher instruction.
Final complaint to date...it's BORING, really really boring and these are the students who we need to get excited about learning...
I do like the idea of going back through previous curriculum and reteaching the basics and giving students time to master these at their own pace.
I also commend the dedicated teachers who I am sure have spent many years developing their own way of teaching math that now conform to this crap.
My biggest concern is that my child will have wasted two years in this program and may still only have copied enough headings, instructions, questions and boxed answers to be told "good job, you're doing fifth grade math now!!" (but my child will be headed to high school??)