A response to Task 1
I think both pieces raise very valid points about the way in which Mathematics is taught in schools. What I do question, is the practicalities of the proposed ways for setting things right. Is there the scope, or in fact the need, to completely reform the way in which the education system has worked for hundreds of years to have a complete overhaul?
The notion that students are shown rules and asked to learn them and practise over and over again, may not be stimulating the correct environment for a child’s interest in pure mathematics is one that I, whole-heartedly, agree with. However, I also feel that mathematical intrigue and the ability to solve mathematical problems is not a necessarily innate one.
To be able to use maths to solve the many mysteries and wonders of life, it is presumed that one must be able to perform basic mathematic functions such as the four operations and basic algebra. I have worked with year 11 students, who cannot fathom basic number work. To try to set them off to understand the way in which the golden ratio works, will mean nothing without a basic understanding of ratio and, indeed, the understanding of non-integer numbers. The reason the system works in the way it does at the moment, is that the grasp of these basic functions is not reached at a young enough age to allow students to reach their fuller potential and enjoy Maths in the same way as higher achievers can- which links to Boaler’s point of only giving students the opportunity to discover ‘real mathematics’ late in the day.
I also worry that it is assumed that all Maths teachers are Mathematicians. From personal experience, many Maths teacher are experts on the syllabus- they can use and prove Pythagoras’ Theorem until the cows come home- but they are unlikely to find a new theory to change the world of Mathematics- they simply haven’t got the time, even if they have the inclination. I think that this leads teachers to be scared that there will be a question they cannot answer- they are tasked with the responsibility of moulding the minds of those who may become greater thinkers than themselves. This is not taken lightly and I think that the use of standardised testing is a protection for teachers- even if it isn’t the greatest test of ability.
I understand the thinking behind the idea from the video that the view of school can be viewed as very ‘Industrial’. I feel that the way in which children are asked to break down their day into sections does not prepare them for everyday life. I’m not sure how many professions- other than teaching has their time management broken down for them with the use of a bell.
Overall, I can see the points raised in the stimuli but cannot get past the pragmatic, nagging, part of me which will tells me that reform to the extent raised is close to impossible.