Much has been discussed on this blog about the pedagogy of the revised curriculum. Some people (mostly in Manitoba) want to debate about whether the pedagogy of discovery, exploration, and constructivism actually works. This week, I had a conversation with a colleague, who shared the story of her two daughters with me. I hope my colleague isn’t a reader of this blog. I didn’t actually ask her if I could share the story. But it is too relevant not to.
Daughter 1 – High School Student
Daughter 1 is a product of the old math curriculum. She receives very high grades (in the 90’s). My colleague, a math educator, fears that these grades are earned by memorization and imitation, and have very little understanding behind them.
Daughter 2 – Junior High School Student
Daughter 2 is in her fourth year of learning with the revised curriculum. Her grades are decent, and she loves math. She has been fortunate to have four years of teachers who embrace the philosophy of the revised program of studies.
While on holidays over Christmas, my colleague’s husband took to reading alcohol content labels on the beverages he was buying. In their hotel room, Daughter 1 noticed a bottle with 6% alcohol and another with 12% alcohol. She commented that if mixed, the alcohol content would be 18%. Daughter 2 jumped in, and tried to correct her older sister. The older sister wasn’t understanding the explanation, so Daughter 2 used all the strategies we want kids to use. She drew pictures. She experimented (hopefully not by sampling). She convinced her older sister that the alcohol content of the mixture would lie between 6% and 12%. She even extended it the next morning at breakfast when comparing 1% and 2% milk.
Which daughter is better equipped to handle the rigours of University math?