Thursday, September 15, 2005

More Food For Thought

Over at EdWahoo, they're having quite a discussion among the commenters involving a 1997 study of two British schools that used very different approaches to the teaching of mathematics. The research produced some very unexpected findings. Here is a taste:
Two schools in England were the focus for this research. In one, the teachers taught mathematics using whole-class teaching and textbooks, and the students were tested frequently. The students were taught in tracked groups, standards of discipline were high, and the students worked hard. The second school was chosen because its approach to mathematics teaching was completely different. Students there worked on open-ended projects in heterogeneous groups, teachers used a variety of methods, and discipline was extremely relaxed. Over a three-year period, I monitored groups of students at both schools, from the age of 13 to age 16. I watched more than 100 lessons at each school, interviewed the students, gave out questionnaires, conducted various assessments of the students' mathematical knowledge, and analyzed their responses to Britain's national school-leaving examination in mathematics.
There is much more thought-provoking reading to be had in the whole post.

As a practicing classroom teacher, It's my inclination that there are a variety of effective curricula out there, and that different methods work differently for different student populations. I'm looking forward to learning more.
View this week's Carnival of Education, guest hosted by Ms. Frizzle, right here.

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