Frustration

A kind student from my alma mater called this afternoon to solicit the annual donation and we discussed her ed classes and frustrations of trying to tutor children in what’s called “Common Core math”. She’s having a really hard time understanding it, and of course, she is having a hard time explaining it to children so that they can actually “do the math”. I told her about “new math” which was the latest, greatest failed math instruction that came and left a few generations ago. We KNOW that children learn best by use of manipulatives and real world problem solving. There have not been ANY research studies that prove that children learn math best by sitting at tables or desks and filling in worksheets, or answering questions in texts or even online. Now, we have all sorts of brain studies and even more proof that children need to move, to talk to each other, have free time to play and work out problems, and still we are seeing little children pressed to perform above their abilities in math and in other key subjects. For years, I’ve been going to conferences and listening to educators give the same talks – I’ve even given lots of them myself. Then why, after all these years, are MORE children unhappy to be at school? Why, after saying these things over and over and over again, are we still yelling into the wind?? I know there are pockets of excellent education out there, and I know that change is in the air. How will we make the necessary changes to make early childhood a time of wonder, happiness, and learning for more of our children? What will YOU do today to make your voice heard?

4 Responses to “Frustration”

  1. Hi,
    I have been a JP teacher for over 40 years and can quite understand your frustrations. During my teaching career I struggled with the relevance of many of the concepts we had to teach. I found that children became frustrated and upset with many aspects of math. However when we made the subject a game the children became really switched on and wanted to learn.
    At the beginning of every math session we played a game, whether it be to ‘guess’ estimate the number of teddies in the container or to ‘Beat the Teacher” a rolling the dice game. After the game the children were much more attentive and ready to listen.
    It took a lot of thinking and preparation work to make math fun, but it was well worth it. My students were keep to work on problem solving, and finding new ways to solve a problem.
    I also think the teacher needs to show that they enjoy what they are teaching. This comes through very clearly.

  2. Val Kellin says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Bless you!

  3. ellen says:

    Dear Val,
    I don’t know how to do that, but I’ll ask my helper tomorrow. So sorry.

  4. Greetings! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

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