Patient Problem Solving

Last year, I remarked on a TED talk from mathemagician Arthur Benjamin, who argued for the displacement of Calculus by Statistics in the hierarchy of high school mathematics. This year, TED has sponsored a talk by high school math teacher Dan Meyer, who discusses what, in his view, are the major problems with the way mathematics is currently taught to kids, and what can be done to fix things.

His opening is spot on: “I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it.” He goes on to argue that the problem with math education, a problem exacerbated by most textbooks, is that it discourages what he terms patient problem solving. Problems in textbooks rarely reflect the types of problems one encounters in real life: textbook problems usually supply you with just . . . → Read More: Patient Problem Solving

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