5 reasons why you don’t need to teach math

I’ve talked before how I feel Tennis is an education. So I like it when I read someone else explain the similar idea. Life is its own education.

The article 5 reasons why you don’t need to teach math is provocative and I like that. Challenging the very root of learning but at the same time expressing everything my best teachers taught me. They never taught me the answers so I could repeat them. They taught me to think so I could go beyond what we covered in the lesson.

I got 5 A’s at A Level. In terms of maths I knew that points meant places and I had a better chance of getting enough points to guarantee my top pick than those doing 3 A levels. Basic maths. I could get lower overall marks and still go. They needed near perfect scores.

Teaching to curiosity. 

When I read about teaching to curiosity I knew I this article was for me.

Teaching math beyond the basics is useless. You have to teach to curiosity instead.

I learn best when I am curious. Like any one I am most motivated on an expedition when I chose it. I learn more deeply and with more vigour when I set the question and challenge. If I understand maths is my failing and it’s part of solving my challenge then, with a good teacher, or just my own verve I learn maths. I become a Ninja at what I learn because it matters to me.

A way to think

Penelope posits that 

Math is learning a way to think. There are many ways to do this.

I would argue that this does depend on the way maths is taught. I benefited from a revolutionary approach from Smile maths but I think I was lucky. The approach was ability based. If you were good at trig but bad at multiplication then they built your skills in multiplication and automatically set a question at the right level.
The problem with the system was simply the teachers ability to implement it. It worked wonderfully until the teacher left and their replacement didn’t know how to work it. It wasn’t hard to implement but required skills in supporting children instead of lecturing them.

Though I still agree. Once you get the right mindset to solve the mathematical puzzle at hand you will solve the problem.

Maths, like any topic or craft is about learning mindsets. The more you master, the better your results.

Able kids can teach themselves

I agree with the final statement too.

If your kid is good at math, you don’t need to teach them.

Just checkout the amazing work of Sugata Mitra who shows how even the poorest children can teach themselves?  and do better as a result.

I’ll leave you to ponder this article and think of the many ways I’m wrong. Fair enough but math doesn’t scare me and it never has. I’m a programmer. Maths is kind of inherent. I didn’t do the advanced applied maths stuff but I get by pretty well without it. Knowing enough to get by is pretty much always more important than know everything.

Being rounded is better than lopsided. Knowing a lot about one thing and little about everything else. So I have to ask,

What other useful things would you learn if you spent a little less time learning the less useful aspects of maths?

 Check out  5 reasons why you don’t need to teach math and let me know what you think too.

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