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Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

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This is bloody scary. I didn't think it was THAT long since I was in elementary school. Ok it has really been a while, but still...

The video is a bit long but interesting. But scary.

Discuss.

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LOL at the atlasses in the middle of the math textbooks.

That's simply ridiculous.

Since we have calculators that can solve algebra now, I wonder how long it'll take before textbooks remove algebra from their books, claiming it's a waste of time...

Actually, why do math at all? Just ask a teacher or a mathematician!

Edited by cixelsyD

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Holy crap. Cluster method, partial products/quotients method, lattice method? How do elementary kids even remember all those steps?

The algorithm which requires the least amount of writing is best IMO.

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A calculator that can do algebra? What can't the calculator do these days, haha

I bet the creator of those textbooks weren't very happy doing multiplication and division in elementary school maths themselfs. :D How they actually went and wrote a textbook like that is beyond me.

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Wow, that shows how students are taught pointless information that they'll never need. Not to brag, but I remember doing double and triple digit multiplication in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Americans are way behind in their education.

The fact that they're going on about 'algorithms' is laughable, why use such a mundane and difficult word, when method suffices just fine?

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When the heck did you learn the multiplication table Aboo??

Anyway I learnt double digit multiplication in 4th grade but that's irrelevant.

This is like making math harder than it needs to be.

Ok I kind of get their point that they teach place value and whatnot. But I have a major problem with the cluster method...It's a wonder kids don't hate math with it. I mean it's probably ok to do in your head but on paper why would you waste that much time and paper :D like that? And I bet kids at 9-10 years old aren't that good at mental math anyway so making them do half the problem mentally is making life a hell lot more difficult. what happens when you get to 3-4 digit? Oh of course that's where you get out the calculators.

(Just to clarify I'll be a hypocrite if I say anything against calculators since after 2 years of IGCSE and 2 years of IB I've become more dependent on calculators than I should be :D , but I think the idea of having a whole chapter on calculator use in 4th grade is ridiculous. You're then taking away the foundation that they need. Ok they'll eventually lose that foundation later when they get to finally use calculators but hopefully for some, some of it still retains. But it cant be retained if it's not there in the first place).

This is funny

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When the heck did you learn the multiplication table Aboo??

I can't remember that much, but maybe 2nd or 1st grade? :D

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Hehe, I remember taking walks with mum in kindergarten and she made me recite the multiplication table... I think I was stupid enough to think it was fun too. :D

@HMSChocolate, I've seen that before! Damn funny.

IB changed the math exam so now there's a non-calc paper 1. :D

Personally, I think calcs should only be used under time limits or for calculations that are generally too difficult or tedious to carry out ('difficult' varies from person to person, sadly, so this doesn't really have a point :D ) Simple addition/subtraction/multiplication/division should be done mentally though. What if you're out shopping and you need to double-check a price? You surely aren't going to carry a calc with you everywhere, are you?

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We were suppose to learn multiplication in the 2nd and 3rd grade but I moved so much, and then once I got into middle school we were just told to use a calculator.

I didn't learn that lattice method, but I did learn the others here in school. I hated the "cluster method" we didn't call it that, but it was horrible. A lot of what she said at the end is true though about students at uni level math.

edit: aboo needs to not touch my posts... my spelling is not that bad!

Edited by Aboo
Typos and spelling errors, thus rendering it grammatically incorrect :P

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I can't remember that much, but maybe 2nd or 1st grade? :)

Yea, thats around the same time I memorized the multiplication table, 1-9. I was able to do most of those 'algorithms' by grade 2.

I've seen most of the methods in the video but I only use the first method.

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Oh for goodness sake.

WHY COMPLICATE MATH. WHY WHY WHY? I'm seriously against the whole idea of making it harder than what it is.

Anyhoo, I think the American education system is way behind in math, it's ridiculous. I remember when I moved to my new school in Grade 10 I was doing Algebra I and some trigonometry and geometry.

I've done algebra around 5th grade (or was it 6th grade?) and I've done trignometry in 8th and 9th grade and geometry well I've done it a really long time aswell!

And I only learnt how to use a scientifc calculator in the middle of 11th grade, I was against the idea of using calculators jsut because I don't like them and they are too complicated for me.

when problems get complicated just reach for a calculator? WTH. In my old school we weren't allowed to use a calculator. I just don't get this logic....

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that is insane AND stupid at the same time.

ITS BASIC MATHS! you don't need 3 versions of doing the same thing when you can just use the most productive methods! ok sure the people who made up the cluster and the lattice methods deserve some credit for the creativity but when you take into account how much suffering they have caused to those poor kids and parents *facepalm

and i already forgot what grade i learnt multiplication and division, all i remember is that i learnt multiplication and the table first then i learnt long division then short.

that was it!

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Whoa, that is absolutely appalling and just ridiculous. And multiplication in Grade FIVE? OhmyGod. Whoever invented those ridiculous textbooks should be punished for wasting so much of a child's time. Childhood is undoubtedly the best time of learning... and their brain cells are instead wasted on learning all these stupid methods for MULTIPLICATION.

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Wow, that shows how students are taught pointless information that they'll never need. Not to brag, but I remember doing double and triple digit multiplication in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Americans are way behind in their education.

The fact that they're going on about 'algorithms' is laughable, why use such a mundane and difficult word, when method suffices just fine?

That was quite supercilious what you said if you ask me. Your disdain for American school systems, however dismal, is very condescending. If you really think about what you just said, just for a second. If I take an Algebra, or Calculus class, I can probably go the whole year just fine doing the cut and packaged material that the teacher provides. Send me to a higher level and if I have never understood the proofs or the reason for doing something, there is no connection being made. I personally believe that the system is teaching the students plasticity, the right to view something holistically, really does make a difference on the thought process of an individual. Being narrow minded never got anyone anywhere, but I must conceed that yes our eduction is horrible in the states, partially why I enjoy IB so much despite the cut throat conditions. And don't forget the best of the best universities in the world are found primarily in none other than the United States.

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I don't think that holistic teaching and having some good universities vindicates the US style of teaching maths (or the British style). The fact of the matter is that people from other countries, especially China, Korea etc. are waaayyy ahead of us mathematically, and not with lack of understanding, either.

There's much that is good and which should be defended, but I'd agree with Aboo that mathematics teaching isn't one of those things.

I should add that I use that stupid cluster method thing and am utterly hopeless at mental maths (or written maths, it takes me ages) as a result. It's what I was taught, though *shrug* Would be nice to have a better grasp of things :(

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That was quite supercilious what you said if you ask me. Your disdain for American school systems, however dismal, is very condescending. If you really think about what you just said, just for a second. If I take an Algebra, or Calculus class, I can probably go the whole year just fine doing the cut and packaged material that the teacher provides. Send me to a higher level and if I have never understood the proofs or the reason for doing something, there is no connection being made. I personally believe that the system is teaching the students plasticity, the right to view something holistically, really does make a difference on the thought process of an individual. Being narrow minded never got anyone anywhere, but I must conceed that yes our eduction is horrible in the states, partially why I enjoy IB so much despite the cut throat conditions. And don't forget the best of the best universities in the world are found primarily in none other than the United States.

For something as simple as multiplication or division - the BASICS of mathematics - there is not much to be viewed 'holistically'. If a student is having trouble grasping the foundation in a subject matter, they won't get very far. Creative thinking is reserved for 'higher' mathematics where things aren't so cut and dried.

There would be merit in learning the methods outlined in the above vid if the methods improved efficiency/speed, but they do exactly the opposite. There's absolutely no point in complicating something as simple and straightforward as multiplication and turning it into this complex 'algorithm'.

Likewise, it would be stupid to have a number of ways to spell words. There's one way - you either learn it or you get left behind.

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