Australian government to fund dubious maths teaching programme

Filling the pail

One of education’s sardonic ironies occurs when actual scientists somehow find themselves caught-up in programmes to teach science or maths in school. These hard-headed rationalists go all romantic and Dewey-eyed. Learning science and maths should be learning throughdoing, they proclaim, never once pausing to question what the scientific evidence has to say on the matter.

And so it shouldn’t really surprise anyone to hear that the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers has teamed-up with the Australian Academy of Science to spend Australian taxpayer’s money on a project to push more inquiry learningin the nation’s maths classrooms.

We have known for some time that inquiry learning is ineffective for teaching maths – and pretty much any academic subject – to school-aged students. This is because they are relative novices and learning through inquiry overloads their working memory. This is why the folk tradition of teaching by breaking things…

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