flavors of school math

saxon, imp, dmi, ..

to name a few..

aka (to me): machine, pbl & hacking

[my first year of teaching was in a one building school house ish. i had grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, one each hour, about 30 in each class. all saxon.]

saxon: trained you to think like a machine. non-words. inane situations. cut through the crap. to the crap. algorithms flavored with the english language letters.

[diff location – next several years, mainstream hs, i was imp trained]

imp (interactive math program): project based learning to the max (esp for back then). ability/allowance for a 5 year old to ask a calculus question – and for it to be addressed. only problem was spinach or rockness. ie: everyone had same projects year after year – pig for probability is all i remember now.

[diff location – next several years, mainstream hs, i was dmi trained]

dmi (developing mathematical ideas): hacking the algorithms/acronyms/etc to get at the core, the why, the thinking like a mathematician. again – only problem is – what if i don’t care today about what subtraction is.. so s & r ness as well.

[i was also always on the curriculum committees – national and local – nctm convention in denver 1989 ish? really strange not listed.. to garner the most efficient means for teaching school math to the masses.]

– – –

so a happy resolve seemed to be an editable syllabus during our pilot year – self-regulated control of the top down mandate.. as it were. (ie: here is what you have to do. i’m here if you need me. time/resources/space/each other… all yours)

finding – not enough people in love with school math enough to do that. who is mandating math basics. and why.

no doubt we have gotten to be the most efficient of disseminating this info. people are doing amazing things within the assumed/mandated constraints of cc, nclb, et al. but in all this obsession with efficiency.. we’ve blinded ourselves to becoming perhaps the most inefficient (run a muck ness) in regard to human energy. ie: why would you insist someone spend 7 hrs a day on something they might never choose to do w/o all extrinsic motivation. just in case? on something they’re supposed to do.. yet – if money/credentials/accolades were no object.. they’d be gone. and/or they’d see cheating et al as legit means to the end they aren’t choosing – so they can get on with their day/life. how could that be sustainable.. aren’t we proving to ourselves that it creates a perpetual need to up the antie. and isn’t ill health of people, alone, enough for us to question what we’re doing in the name of efficiency, growth…

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