Sunday, March 28, 2010

Innumerate math teachers

A Psychology Today article writes:
In an article published in 2005, Patricia Clark Kenschaft, a professor of mathematics at Montclair State University, described her experiences of going into elementary schools and talking with teachers about math. In one visit to a K-6 elementary school in New Jersey she discovered that not a single teacher, out of the fifty that she met with, knew how to find the area of a rectangle.[2] They taught multiplication, but none of them knew that multiplication is used to find the area of a rectangle. Their most common guess was that you add the length and the width to get the area.
This is pathetic, but widespread. Elementary schools just don't believe in hiring the sort of teachers who are interested in math. They would probably drop math altogether, if they could get away with it. Math is on the standardized tests, so they have to keep it. They just teach it badly.

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