Math class needs a makeover

About Dan MyerDan Meyer asks, “How can we design the ideal learning experience for students?” As a part-time Googler, a provocative blogger  and a full-time high-school math teacher, his perspective on curriculum design, teacher education and teacher retention is informed by tech trends and online discourse as much as front-line experience with students.

Meyer has spun off his enlightening message — that teachers “be less helpful” and push their students to formulate the steps to solve math problems — into a nationwide tour-of-duty on the speaking circuit.

“I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it but is forced by law to buy it.”  – Dan Meyer

The issue as Dan points out, is that we are teaching students how to solve problems, based on inputs. We hand them all of the blocks and say build this, oh and by the way this is what it has to look like. Then we even go a step further and tell them how to build each part of the final structure. All they really have to do is put the pieces together. In the end they haven’t really done anything except follow instructions. We never give students the opportunity to design their own problem or think of their own solution. Or even to figure out what the steps are. It is all given to them in a predetermined format. Students are never encouraged to think, in fact thinking isn’t really necessary. Just answer the question. Pass the test.


Leave a Reply