New math teaching methods are causing frustration among parents and children
There is a rising concern that Canadian students are failing at performance in maths when compared to other countries and it is believed that this is to do with the new method of teaching maths. Children and parents are both frustrated by this new math methodology and are calling for a move back to more traditional methods of teaching maths.
Many parents are so worried about their children’s ability to do maths that they are hiring after school tutors to help teach the basics. Traditional methods revolve around memorisation and repetitiveness of math problems to enhance comprehension of the basics such as multiplication and numeracy; especially for teachers teaching younger children.
The new methods revolve around problem solving such as Sudoku puzzles and computer game simulations. Parents would like to see a more solid foundation in arithmetic and consider that this would provide Canadian students with more competence at numeracy, they feel that their children will be excluded from pursuing careers in science and economics due to the poor maths instruction they currently receive.
Having weak maths skills can impact on the child’s life enormously and are calling for an improvement in this area.
Canada’s math rankings keep decreasing; 15 year olds in Canada have now slipped out of the top ten, fuelling the argument about a return to mathematic basics teaching. Canada is now ranked 13th out of 65 countries.
Proponents of the new system of teaching mathematics highlight that with the increasing use of technology it is more important and relevant for children to be able to problem solve, to find alternative strategies for working out mathematical problems.
Conceptual thinking can help pupils in other subjects and conceptual maths has more resonance with today’s society. Proponents argue that slipping down the maths league is due to the small amount of time pupils learn maths per week compared to other countries, for instance Shanghai students spend 14 hours per week at homework compared with 3 hours that Canadian students devote to homework.
There has been a call that the high school curriculum requires a complete revamp but ultimately it is about getting parents involved in the subjects taught at school, especially maths. Their future professors, assuming they graduate on to post-secondary school, get paid the same regardless of whether they coddle the children or not; better to learn it in high school.