5 Steps to a Math Class Makeover
TED Talk, devoted to what it calls "ideas worth spreading," just featured a high school math teacher. Dan Meyer, who frequently blogs about all things math, gave a talk about how math class needs a makeover. Specifically, he explained his concern about how today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect--and excel at--paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them.
"I'm very concerned about this because I'm gonna retire in a world that my students will run," Meyer said. "I'm doing bad things to my own future and well-being when I teach this way."
He gave five suggestions to redesigning the math class to encourage formulating problems: 1) Use multimedia; 2) Encourage student intuition; 3) Ask the shortest questions you can; 4) Let students build the problem; and 5) Be less helpful. Meyer showed how to incorporate these elements by demonstrating classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think and to have a conversation about math.
His talk is spurring discussions and is being well-received, based on the comments section of the video:
Dan's approach is awesome. He isn't really 'teaching' as much as he is facilitating learning. He poses thought-provoking problems, uses rich media (video, blogs, lots of photos) and dares to actually approach concepts (not problem sets) realistically instead of relying on an "answer key" in the back of the book to gauge understanding.
Perhaps Dan's model will provide courage for more 'outside the box' thinkers to the point where we can re-imagine the whole learning process. Teachers become facilitators, students become learners, teaching becomes learning, and success isn't measured against an answer key, but by the level of engagement, real-world projects, thought experiments, hands-on experiments, and creative solutions.
Watch the full talk below: