The Current Research and/or Studies
This Study from the Programme for International Student Acheivement shows how 15 year old American students are behind other countries 15 year old students in Math.
These "top" countries may have students with higher ability levels when it comes to standardized tests on Math, Science and Language, yet they are difficient in creativity and divergent thinking. The backbone of American ingenuity is just that! The ability to think outside the box and create ideas, products and services that other people want and need.
Are we pushing our students too hard?
What do these tests really tell us?
Do we really need math anyway? I mean come on!
South Korea has the highest suicide rate among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with an average of 33.5 people per 100,000 taking their lives in 2010, far higher than Hungary (23.3) and Japan (21.2) which ranked Nos. 2 and 3.
''The children are only good at solving problems they are set,'' said Song
Whan-woong, of a reformist group called the National Association of Parents for True Education. ''They don't know how to solve problems more creatively. And it
really costs a large amount of money for education. That's why parents are wary of having babies.''
Source: Brisbane times
Those in Korea "need" math as a way to make it into the elite SKY universities. These three universities are like our Ivy League schools.
Many students are underperforming or even dropping out of highschool in the U.S. The reason for this is because they are a square peg we are attempting to fit into a round hole. Where are the building trades? Shop class? Auto repair?
Who has been successful in this country? It has been those individuals with the ability to be creative and use divergent thinking.
Think of all the immigrants who came here under the promise that if they just worked hard, they could make it. For crying out loud our schools are modeled after factories!
Quite frankly, NO! In my estimation there is no need for math past the 7th grade. Calculations wise, every bit of math you need can be done with simple arithmetic or done on a calculator or computer. We keep teaching Calculus and trigonometry for the critical thinking skills it imparts.
Do not fear! All is not lost! There is a way to fix this. In fact, many teachers are already using this technique in their classrooms. It is called getting to know your students. John C Maxwell, a famous leadership coach, is quoted as saying, "they won't care what you know until they know you care".
This is definitely true for educators. In my lifetime the best teachers and principals I have crossed paths with, truly cared about the kids. If you want students to succeed you must find a way to connect with them, show them you care and open their eyes to their potential.
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