Math Awards Math Circles Math Standards Math Adhesion

Math Aspect

There needs to be a shift in the way math and science are taught.

I experienced math classes in college where the professor stood over the information like a bank guard, limiting who had access to the knowledge, or creating a hurdle for students to navigate over so the class could be a filter to weed out students from future classes or programs. Who wins in such an interaction? Who benefits?

My brother and mom were talking about math teachers they had in high school and my brother expressed that one of his favorite teachers was a football coach who also taught a math class. Mom was infuriated and expressed frustration that the school would entrust such an important subject to a teacher who wasn’t credentialed, who didn’t have a degree in teaching math, who was probably just passing the time until practice started. My brother countered mom’s doubts with his experiences, how he had enjoyed the class, that the teacher had taught the class with fun stories and that had made class interesting to learn about.

There are no gold stars for how much education the teacher has experienced or achieved. Someone smart enough to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in a Math field may not have taken even one class about developing a lesson plan or training how to teach others. So the value is the delivery of information in a way that creates adhesion, retained memory of the information by the students, over the number or type of tassels worn by the teacher.

In the contest for student’s attention is it really a surprise that students don’t spend time on 2,308 year old Euclidian Geometry when Nintendo, Play Station, X-box, Wii, movies, T.V., YouTube, social networks and friends provide more interesting forms of interaction or entertainment? At the high school level what would be the outcome of hiring a teacher with a Bachelors degree in Marketing with a minor in Math over one with a Master’s degree in Math? Can’t there be a method to incorporate current tools or even toys into the classroom? There should be a way to harness the delivery system of the Wii to teach math principles.

Our fundable goals are directed at activities that increase the skill level and percent of students graduating in Math and Science classes at the college level. Most students are motivated toward or away from math and science topics prior to getting to college. Our starting point is to identify benchmarks of students successful at learning math and science principles prior to college and report these shared characteristics.

Personal information is private information. To make it more delicate, high school and middle school students are under 18 years old. To find successful students without intruding into private information, we will work to identify successful teachers by looking at student’s output on tests administered by third parties (STAR tests in California…).

From this population we will identify tools successful students have access to: which text books used, what hardware and software is in the class room, teacher’s education level, lesson plan development and focus, community support, PTA involvement…

As the name of our organization expresses, we will find the people and delivery systems that generate the Best Education; we will report these shared characteristics as benchmarks; and we will work to increase awareness of and access to the tools, resources and conditions that help students retain, understand and relay the information taught.

Michael Lauper