The Learning 2.0 School

Shifting Perceptions of Teaching and Learning in and out of the School Library

Deprogramming Math Students

Posted by Michelle Torrise on January 14, 2012

When I came across Dan Meyer’s Ted Talk, I almost passed it over.  Why? Meyer is a high school math teacher.  I really enjoyed math as a student–made it through precalculus–but retained very little of what I’ve learned, and I wasn’t sure if his was information I needed on a Saturday morning.   But,  I had time while enjoying a cup of coffee, and his talk had an impressive 687,331 views, so I hit the play button.

In his talk, Meyer talks about how the majority of his students, many of whom are at the remedial level, start the semester with a virus of impatience and lack of initiative.  They don’t want to take the time to define a problem or seek the information they need to solve it.  They thrive on the textbook approach, which is: provide students with the problem and then give them the information and substeps they need to solve it.  This is dangerous, Meyer says, because this is not how real world problems are actually solved.    He goes on to provide clear examples of how to address this instructional issue by dissecting a traditional text book problem and demonstrating  how to rewrite the problem for real world application.

I’m so glad I took the time to watch Myer’s math curriculum makeover,  because it less than 12 minutes, I was reintroduced to the exciting and integral nature of mathematics.   So much so, that I think math word problems should be integrated into every subject area as a strategy to develop critical think and problem solving skills!  Here’s Meyer’s ideas for Social Studies  and Language Arts through Digital Storytelling

You can see Meyer’s talk on Ted.  See > Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover.

Follow Dan Meyer’s Blog at dy/dan, less helpful.

Read more about Dan Meyer in Education Week.

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