Not This Again, Dept.

traditional math

In a recent article in Huffington Post, Keith Devlin (a mathematician from Stanford who writes about math education) says that math as it was taught in the past focused largely on computational skills. But it should be about “number sense” since computations can largely be done by computers, calculators, “the cloud”, etc, these days.

He waits until the end to tell us what “number sense” means–which in his case means “conceptual understanding” as opposed to procedural fluency.  As if he has heard the arguments before (and he has), he takes a pre-emptive strike against potential criticism from people like me by paying lip service to the need for learning procedures and then goes into his case for “understanding”.

Make no mistake about it, acquiring that modern-day mathematical skillset definitely requires spending time carrying out the various procedures. Your child or children will still spend time “doing math” in the way…

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