Shortening the Math Curriculum

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Shortening the Math Curriculum

Shortening the Math Curriculum.. Many of our students can improve their performance in mathematics if schools adjusted the number of topics on the curriculum. Ms. English, awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, who has spent time in Finland commented on this matter saying, ‘A student who is two weeks behind in mastering math concepts, for example, will continue to fall behind as the teacher “keeps the pace” to cover new concepts, and there is little time for teachers to re-teach the material. Schools have tutoring sessions to assist struggling students but as students strive to catch up, their classes move forward to cover new concepts.’ [1]

Ms. English expresses a concern shared by many teachers; the student’s difficulties multiply and eventually many give up simply saying they hate mathematics. There are numerous topics on the math syllabus which can be taken out without affecting student learning; the circle theorems are some of them.

The second observation made by Ms. English is that the time spent on a topic should be determined by whether the topic has been learned adequately and nothing else. I share both these views with Ms. English and feel that many of our students are being adversely affected by the unrelenting pace which does not give enough consideration to the feedback of students or the expressed concerns of teachers. This curriculum can be changed; it is not written in stone.

[1] OECD insights. US Teacher Gets Finnish Lesson in Optimizing Student Potential. Part 1. September 23 2013

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