January 22, 2006
This is my response to "cslives" on joannejacobs.com regarding "Stupid in America. (See link to joannejacobs.com in sidebar.) Maura Larkins
“When I hear the phrase ‘number sense’ it sends me running for the great god of porcelain! It's a code word for useless, feel-good math.” Posted by: cwlives
Maura Larkins' response:
There is no such thing as “useless, feel-good math.”
“Feel-good math” is useful, and we should make sure that kids get enough of it to master necessary skills. Most kids are taught “feel-BAD math” by teachers who don’t understand math. In my experience, many elementary school math teachers perform math at a low level, and understand math at an even lower level.
Are we limited to a choice between knowledgeable teachers who can’t get through to kids, and teachers with good communication skills who don’t have enough knowledge? No.
There’s a third choice--a teacher who can think. Thinking is a different skill from acquiring knowledge. A teacher who can think can quickly obtain the knowledge he or she needs. But a teacher with knowledge can’t necessarily think.
Schools of education should teach teachers how to think!
George Will, as usual, wants to take extreme measures. Eliminating schools of education altogether would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. From what I know of George Will, I believe he would run screaming for the hills if the teachers of America actually began to think.