The Way Americans Teach Math is Not Working
Debate Rounds (4)
There is lots of people saying rumors about Common Core being rubbish and all that, but is it really true? The way Americans teach math has been the way for decades-why change? There is not much evidence that the way we teach is not working. You might say our grades are bad, but that doesn't mean the teaching method is not working.
For example, in Dublin, Ohio, the average grades are much higher than the national average. (A- in Dublin) That is because Dublin is not a poor town, and there is not a lot of neighborhood crime and violence. These are the reasons why our national grade is bad. Crime and violence. According to the Washington Post(https://www.washingtonpost.com...), 51 percent of students are poor in this country.
I will end with a question: Can you give any specific evidence? Any teaching method that is just extremely terrible?
http://www.theatlantic.com...), " The U.S. scored below the PISA math mean and ranks 26th out of the 34 OECD countries" and that On average, 13 percent of students scored at the highest or second highest level on the PISA test, making them "top performers." Fifty-five percent of students in Shanghai-China were considered top performers, while only nine percent of American students were.
"One in four U.S. students did not reach the PISA baseline level 2 of mathematics proficiency. At this level, "students begin to demonstrate the skills that will enable them to participate effectively and productively in life," according to the PISA report." This report is worrying. The USA is performing BELOW the average for math proficiency, and, because the USA is such as populous country, it proves that these averages for the math proficiency of American students represents most American students, including the ones who do not live in poverty but actually live good lives with their parents. This proves that the way we teach math is not working and that the reason behind America's mediocre education can mainly be blamed on how we educate.
One big way America can educate students better at math is to focus more on depth than on variety. American education today is basically just throwing out different concepts of math at students to learn each grade while not learning deeply into each concept and area. For instance, many Americans are learning the Fibbonacci Sequence now at 5th or 6th grade, but they rarely learn HOW they can use the Fibbonnacci Sequence. They rarely learn how to use it in advanced problems or learn about how to use the Golden Ratio but instead learn a large variety of things in math without going too deep into any part of math, which will only result in students who think they know so much when in fact they know very little. It seems like that math teachers in America often just teach one thing one day and another thing the next day, which could very easily confuse students and will not help the students master anything in math. In China, students pretty much focus on a few areas of math every grade, but every year, the students learn more deeply into each area of math and then gradually add more areas of math to learn. For instance, most Chinese students don't learn solid geometry until the 12th grade, but in that one grade, they may learn more about solid geometry than most American students will learn about solid geometry their entire school careers! American math, on the other hand, is just throwing out a huge variety of things to learn each grade but don't end up learning too deeply into anything, so American students end up having a very shallow knowledge of math while Chinese students end up having a very deep knowledge of math in each area and part of math.
American students today also don't feel very enthusiastic towards learning anything, especially math. According gto brainflash.com (http://www.brainflash.com...), "You might be used to finding the value of "x," but you might struggle in finding the value behind the activity. After all, when will you solve for "x" or create a unit circle in "real life?" The idea that math is useless after school permeates classrooms across the country, which results in a lack of effort and a complacency with poor grades." However, math is extremely important, as many important STEM career jobs that greatly help our society require a large amount of mathematical knowledge and many in-demand jobs need mathematical knowledge too. Also, education is, in my opinion, a form of wealth in itself, as it certainly wouldn't be respectable to have a lot of , say, money but not a lot of knowledge. In summary, the more America goes down this downward spiral, the less competitive we will be, and as a fellow American myself, I'm very worried.
In conclusion, America's lack of mathematical knowledge is mainly our educational system's fault and our culture's fault, and our way of teaching math is terrible.
You mentioned not learning deeply into each concept and you gave the Fibonnacci sequence/golden ratio as an example. But what you said is not true. In Algebra II/Pre-calculus, you do delve deeper and discover more about the Fibonacci sequence. Also, you said math teachers in America teach one thing one day and another thing the next day. That is also not true. Math teachers often spend 1-2 weeks on each "Topic", or group of related lessons/concepts. And then they will move on to another, often very closely related "Topic". Also, in the new Common Core Curriculum, each "Topic" will say how this math concept is related to or used in real life.
America"s math system is working perfectly fine.
epicray1 forfeited this round.
My rebuttal to your counterargument is that , for the first eight to nine grades in school, students rarely delve very deep into any subject. Then, when they start learning Algebra II/ Pre-calculus, they are suddenly thrust into a deeper form of math and often do not understand what they learn. This brings up another reason why American math is horrible: We learn only math facts but do not learn why or proofs for math. In Algebra I and II, students often only learn different formulas that may be hard to remember for some but rarely learn why each formula works unless their teacher decides to incorporate proofs into their teachings, which does not happen commonly. This and the reason that the transition from learning from one grade to another is why American math is terrible. We do not delve deeply into any part of math then, in the later K-12 grades, we suddenly transition into harder things in math (although we STILL do not delve into each subject as well as countries like China do), so the students are suddenly thrust into harder math without being prepared for harder math and often learn little because they struggle to understand anything. I have seen this in many students, whether they are rich or poor students. The students also are just memorizing cold, hard facts without understanding why each fact is true, which means that they could very easily forget many important parts of math. All of this struggle may also fuel students to hate math when math is truly a beautiful thing that has been, in a way, corrupted by the American education system. For these reasons, I urge all voters to vote Pro.
I will end by saying this: If america's math teaching system is so bad, how come so many kids do so well in math competitions? MATHCOUNTS, ARML, and even IMO are great examples. We got mostly gold medals and 1st place at IMO last year! Americans are good at math. Vote Con!
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