The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.– Albert Einstein
Honestly, I chose this TedTalk because I need to take the College Math Clep and I do NOT like math. I was pretty good in high school, but in real life I haven’t used those skills and I just don’t remember a thing. I figured I’d give “Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover” a shot. All I can say is, I WISH Dan Meyer was my math teacher! He is engaging, related math to real life, and made me laugh. I can say with 100% certainty I have never described a math teach that way until now.
Dan Meyer describes his job as someone who sells a product to people who don’t want to buy it, but are legally mandated to do it. I laughed, because I imagine being a math teacher is like being a dentist- not that many people are excited to see you. He also says that the way we teach math in schools ensures students won’t retain it. However, he seems truly invested in fixing the problems with the way we teach math in this country, and he has a lot of interesting ideas.
He believes that in the US our text books do way too much hand holding and create impatient learners who expect all of the facts and a formula to solve the problem. In real life, math requires actually figuring out the problem and using active thinking and discussion. He encourages creating this community for discussion with your students, eliminating the sub-steps, use multimedia, asking the shortest questions possible, and letting the students really drive the problem building and solving. As I continue to hear in all of my education classes, you have to find ways to reach your students.
I think the reason I was unable to hold on to my math skills is that I don’t often come across the problems and formulas in real life. I wasn’t really able to translate what I learned into real math reasoning. Well- I did hold on to my percent off skills- a girl has to know how to figure out the sale price! But that’s the problem with a lot of math, it was not presented in a way that showed its real life applications. If Dan succeeds, and math is taught this way, I’d seriously consider going back to take another class. My skills are definitely pretty rusty!