Early on In his excellent TED talk, “Math Needs A Makeover,” Dan Meyer offers 5 signs you’re teaching math badly.
1. A lack of initiative
2. A lack of perseverance
3. Lack of retention
4. Aversion to word problems
5. Eagerness for formula
To be honest, this can apply to almost any content area. Teaching ELA badly? Students will likely “lack retention.” Probably want “formulas” (in the form of acronyms, fill-in-the-blank graphic organizers, and other crutches/scaffolds). But since he’s a math guy, he offers up some interesting ideas for how a misunderstanding of what math is makes students think they hate it.
The talk is much broader in scope than that, but if you’re short on time, it’s a great takeaway. Continuing, Meyer argues for, first and foremost, a new way of thinking about math, calling it the “vocabulary for your own intuition.” He offers tips for promoting a can-do mindset in students in regards to math, including using multimedia, asking the “shortest question you can,” and “letting the students build the problem.”
The rest of the video can be seen below.
5 Symptoms That You’re Teaching Math Wrong: Math Class Needs A Makeover; image attribution flickr user dylnanng