Monday, May 9, 2011

Moving Beyond Mindless Math Mimicry

This session will examine traditional math education and its legacy of sit and get, do as your told and get the right answer quickly distracts us with its infatuation with behavioral mathematics.

Good math teachers concern themselves with helping children make sense of math for themselves and understand that we no longer believe that human beings acquire knowledge by internalization, reinforcement and conditioning.

Rather, we develop logic-mathematical knowledge by constructing from within, in interaction with our environment.

This session will tease out some of the pitfalls of teaching math and look at what research tells us about how children learn mathematics. To support the research, actual math games, projects and questions will be shared.

For more on how we need to rethink traditional math instruction:

Mindless Math Mimicry
Stop writing the objectives on the board
Math as a ventriloquist act
Alberta's New Math Curriculum
Harmful effects of Algorithms
Prefabricated vocabulary
Larry's lightbulb
Constance Kamii on constructivism
I'm not a math teacher - but I want to be
Constance Kamii on Math Homework
Math is a dangerous subject to teach

For more information about booking Joe Bower for a lecture or workshop, please contact by e-mail:

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Joe - I have spent the last hour reading and agreeing with your thoughts on rethinking traditional math instruction. I love helping children make sense of math for themselves! There is nothing better than watching their understanding develop as they talk and work their way to a solution. In response to your comment about dividing fractions and having no idea why you flip the second fraction and multiply, here is a visual to help you understand the mathematical reasoning -


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