Recently The Daily Caller posted a story on Common Core with the accompanying video of a curriculum instructer telling an audience that the how a student gets to an answer and the steps they take is the most important aspect of the answer. When an audience member ask about the answer essentially still being marked wrong, the curriculum instructor says well of course we want them to get the right answer but the how and why they got to the answer is more important.
Essentially it comes down to there should be no memorization and everything needs to be explained in details. Unfortunately what the Common Core cheerleaders are forgetting is that memorization is a big part of many aspects of learning. For instance you learn why 3×4=12 because your either adding 4 three times or adding 3 four times and instead of using a long arithmetic problem we multiply it. There is no how and why they got to the answer, it is basic math that eventually leads to the memorization of the times table which in turn will help you in not only every aspect of multiplication but also every aspect of division. These instructors seem to forget that they themselves went through memorization techniques after they learned the basic rule of multiplication. Why was it good enough for them but now good enough for the current generation.
The other day I spoke with an assistant principal about not only common core but a new math called Everyday Math and she noted that in high school math is still taught the classic way as it should be and the high school teachers were basically having to show kids how to do it the classic way because the Everyday Math procedures did not work with high school math. This is something I realized right away when I saw the Everyday Math; noted it to an elementary teacher and was promptly told I didn’t know what I was talking about and the poor kids needed this because studies showed it helped them. I was just dumbfounded when that was said to me because I had been a poor kid and did not have an issue with learning math in the classic way growing up and neither did most of the kids in my class. I made sure my own daughter knew the classical approach to math and it has served her well – she is still not great in math as it is not her strong subject but she doesn’t have the same issues as other kids because she knows the classical way to do math. We even showed one of her friends how to do it the classical way and her friends noted it was much easier than the everyday math procedures.
While I understand that there are new industries and disciplines to teach (computers and such), it is important to note that certain subjects require a basic explanation and memorization more than the how and why (basic math) while others would need in depth research (History and English) that requires the how and why. It would be nice if the instructors would stick to the tried and true rather than come up with these fancy new advanced ideas that will fail in the end. If the classic way to teach math worked for thousands of years who is to say it is not going to work for thousands of years in the future. Oh wait the liberals because they know what is best for everyone. Pay attention to what is going on not only in your student’s math books but History and English books because they have been numerous errors found in those books as well.