- Jone Apraiz
- Bilbao
- Spain

This conversation is closed.

## What do you think about the teaching of maths at different levels of education? How do you think it could be improved not to be so feared?

It is an open place to talk about how everyone thinks math teaching could be improved to be closer to students. Thanks!

**Topics:**Mathematics education

## patricia kissinger

## Vasil Rangelov 50+

http://www.youtube.com/user/Vihart

And here's one video that particularly made my jaw drop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK5Z709J2eo

I hope TED invites her as a speaker one day... She's like the next Salman Khan of sorts... I can imagine myself getting sparked up with her videos and looking the concept in more detail on Khan Academy.

(and the only reason I say "imagine myself" as opposed to actually doing it is because I have other math classes ahead of me; I plan to explore it later)

## Debra Smith 200+

I have seen some of her youtube videos below and I agree that she would make a very interesting TED speaker- great suggestion.

Can i suggest that you submit Vihart in the TED question which is asking for suggested speakers?

## Jone Apraiz

I knew something about her, but not this; It´s good, thanks Vasil!!

## daniel hehir 20+

It your a teacher and are looking for good ways to teach children math with enthusiasm, engagement, and fun all rolled into one, then you should take a look at the Steiner school method... music is incorporated in the math sessions ! Music actually runs through the whole pedagogical method, right from kinder garden up through the highest classes. Music opens the soul, is naturally rhythmic, and creates an active inner environment for learning. If you don't do anything else the next week, so take a closer look at the educational methods of Rudolf Steiner !!

## Jone Apraiz

I will search for the Steiner´s method.

I also love music so it could be interesting...

## Comment deleted

## Harald Jezek 50+

## David Craig

Then I went to University and met such things as Fourier transforms. I had no concept beyond rote learning for many years. Then I met a university lecturer who could describe the concepts, and the historical context of of these things. By discussion, came an appreciation of 'why' as well as 'how' Fourier transforms are used.

I see similar response from my own children in their learning. When they see why a concept was invented, and what it can do, they become more involved in learning how to do it.

## Jone Apraiz

Encouraging students and explaining where different math concepts come from is one of the keys of being involved in maths (or in any subject).

Thank you David.

## Melanie Farmer

## Jone Apraiz

I didn´t know anything about Montessori Schools and It seems good.I think that it would be a very good proposal to work in this different way, It seems to be more relaxed and natural. It gives the space to each student to develop their capacities in a free way.

Thank you for your comment!!

## William Parker

Statistics, make it relevant like Hans Roslign does look how many people have watched his talks.

Parabolas and quadratic functions look nice but then what? The teachers I had just said they're very useful so learn them!!

## Rashad Aziz

I might add a note on my own math experience that goes towards the issue of relevancy. I saw a "trickle down" effect of mathematics- you take what graduate students might learn, water it down, and teach it to undergraduates. Take what undergraduate math majors might learn, water it down, and give it to high school students, etc. It leads to some nonsense - I learned ideas in 7th grade algebra that didn't have any relevance until studying abstract algebra. Classes in high school were sometimes a mix of random topics. I wonder if we could decide what practical and abstract mathematical skills we would want public school graduates to have and develop self-contained courses to empower them with these skills.

Public education in America seems to serve the purpose of preparing some and weeding out others for university. I have a difficult time reconciling this model with the ability to teach math in a useful, enjoyable way.

## John Gallop

## Ross Kleiman

One of the largest problems I see with math today is that on first glance the overwhelming majority of it seems useless to most students. Math is taught in a very strange way and I think that turns off a lot of students. The strange manner in which math is taught is that it is largely separated from its useful applications. Math by itself means nothing, it only has value when it is applied to the incredible number of fields that it can advance, be it physics, chemistry, confirming originality of art or literature, improving the economy, or countless other areas. It is, in my opinion, not worthwhile to have students simply do calculation after calculation, completely out of context of its application.

My second problem with mathematics is that it is geared toward calculus and not statistics. Calculus is an extremely powerful tool for students who need it in the future, but for the rest it is something that will quickly be forgotten. Statistics on the other hand is something that is extremely useful for all students. Statistics can teach us how to analyze a situation and make the best decision. Statistics can show students the probability of a payoff, or their chance of success in a certain area. It seems that the last 2-3 years of most high school curricula are focused on teaching students calculus, rather than statistics which I feel has better appeal and application.

So in conclusion my vision for mathematics is passionate teachers who educate students on relevant material in a manner that students can actually relate to.

## Codruta Marin

I am an idealistic math kind of person. I believe that mathematics is not only beautiful and an art, but also crucial as part of the human development. I'm thinking about Pythagoras, Pascal and others.

I truly believe we need to stop seeing mathematics as a necessary evil and work towards seeing it more like an art. Like a game... because it is. And of course the usefulness can come into place. Calculus is just so much more interesting ;)

## J. W. (Monty) Montgomery

Also, it would be hard to gear math toward stats instead of calculus, since many areas of stats are built on calculus. I teach a college stats class for students majoring in fields that use stats far more than calculus, i.e. journalism and sociology. There is no way to have the students reach a true understanding of the normal distribution without going deep into calculus. The alternative is to give the students a z-table and say, "Just take it on faith that this works." That is a fundamentally flawed approach to education, regardless of the subject being taught.

## Christophe Cop 500+

* The way to learn to think in probabilities

* One of the best tools for scientific research

* It can reduce a lot of numbers to a very small amount of understandable and meaningful numbers

* It is the key to understanding and programming AI

* You can learn to beat people in poker

* It shows a lot of cognitive biases you have as a human

* TED loves statisticians! (or that is what I like to believe)

* It can be thought in a very visual and intuitive level.

(ok, maybe i'm of topic,...)

## Jone Apraiz

There are several people working on different math programs (like Wolfram alpha) to try another way to teach maths.

They are opening new directions in math education.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_math_with_computers.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html

## Tim Colgan 50+

## Jone Apraiz

I will tell you when I try it.

Thanks for your interest Tim!

## William Valentine 50+

I have started a concept called the Dope Science Movement. It is geared toward increasing mathematics and science proficiency via music. Since people seem to respond to music very strongly, and several entities and organizations have successfully used song to increase concept retention, I wanted to try to use music as an avenue for creative expression of academic subject matter as well as igniting passion for the subjects themselves. I would love to talk more about how we could possibly work together to develop a pedagogy around this concept, or introduce this concept in to a particular teaching style.

## Jone Apraiz

Where can I read or know more about Dope Science Movement?

I hope to hear from you.

## Ricardo Pignatelli 10+

See: http://www.khanacademy.org/

- Khan was introduced by Bill Gates, who curated the entire Knowledge Revolution session — a new guest curation experiment at TED

Read more: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/03/03/ted-2011-highlights-day-2/#ixzz1FeWOELJa

## Jone Apraiz

Khanacademy is fantastic, I have watched some of his videos since I discovered it, It seems to be the future.

I will explore brainpickings...

## Vasil Rangelov 50+

www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover.html

It contains the majority of things I find wrong with math classes. The remainer is in Conrad Wolfram's talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_math_with_computers.html

Basically - let computers do the calculation, and focus on the "what" and "why" instead. Teach methods first, and formalize them with new terminology afterwards, not the other way around. Try to make students gradually reach up to the "how" based on the "what" and "why". That is not to say "don't tell them any formula" or "don't teach any algoritms", just... being less helpful, answering questions with questions that lead directly to the answer, instead of the answer itself.

## Walter Wilkins

## Jiwei Qu 30+

## Dobromir Gospodinov

In the US, teacher show solutions and teach problems, fix errors quickly, go over large volumes of material, and have more of a dictating role, focusing on what's the right way to solve a problem.

In East Asia teachers assign students into groups, then they are supposed to come up with solutions and present to the whole class - explaining their own thoughts certainly is a huge difference maker in how much understanding of the material they gain. Then teachers step in and focus on errors, which they consider crucial. Figuring out why certain solutions go wrong exploses the students to many different ideas and a context for the right solution - why it works, how it works. Discussion rather than power point and note taking are the tools. The pace is slower in East Asian math compared to US math. As Dr. Honomichl said, the math textbooks in Singapoure are strikingly different, and one does not need to read them to notice it. THEY ARE VERY THIN!

Covering little material over a long period of time equals solid foundations. In the US, teachers rush through the material. How do you build a house without having solid site preparation, without digging deep foundation.

One last thing - research shows that American high schoolers spent 4-5 hours a week on average on doing homework, while East Asian students spend more than 4 hours a day on homework. (they engage in sufficiently smaller amount of extracurricular activities, and in general East Asian students rarely have student jobs)

## José Tavares

Here's my 2 cents: At any level (and at any discipline), it's fundamental to talk about the subjet (as in conversation), play with the subject, know the history about it and be creative on the subject (with metaphors & other analogies) on how/where/when/why. After all, we all have this ability to abstract (and we do pretty serious 'calculations' from an early age, if you care to notice) but, most of the time, we're pretty 'lazy' at focusing and reasoning about a subject without a motivation, a catalyser of attention, of awe even! Imagine trying to teach musical composition without an instrument...

Of course, this demands a huge effort from any teacher, passion, talent to communicate and the awareness that there's a lifetime to learn, that neither students and teachers are "geniuses" and that, more often than not - in communication - an appealling approach leads to a fruitful content. ;)

Sorry if I sounded too paternalistic. Not my intent, anyway.

Cheers!

## Robert Raser

## Jone Apraiz

These are the last hours of this talk and I want to thank you for your contributions.

I hope I will read you hear soon!!

Thanks!!

## marcel marshall

## chaitanya mk

here some steps

1.observe the student closely, may it will take some time but give some easy problems....give some 100 i can say..same type easy way......he feels that it's easy. if possible give some live example for that problem.he feel it's interesting.

2.next after that slowly increase the level of hardness....but same method.....no of problems...and live example....

3.after all type of problems from particular topic , now give the practical application as problem.....definitely he solves that...

4.next ask him prepare some problems and give it to other students...like that mutual exchanging of ideas, thoughts through discussions.

every thing can be expressed in and for language of mathematics...i hope it can help.....thank you

## Debra Smith 200+

## Mike Carr

## Jone Apraiz

## Vi Nguyen Thi Thanh

## Jone Apraiz

They propose very good topics!

## George Sosyukin

## Jone Apraiz

I feel responsible about the teaching of maths in the schools and Universities because I am math teacher. I always try to teach as clear as I can because I know that there may be a lot of students in front of me that they lost on the way of trying to understand a new math concept or a problem.

I am also conscious that when you teach in an institution you are forced to follow a curricula, and sometimes It´s not easy to teach something in the way you feel more natural and fluent in the context where you are teaching. I know that I could do things better, but at this moment this is how a feel.

## Ana María Pérez 200+

## Daniel Beringer

But than again, Euclid didn't write a text book. He wrote a book about geometry. Those who taught with it were not subject to standards, for education wasn't wide spread. The teacher knew the concepts, their applications, and how to teach them. Todays text books can almost be read on their own, sans teacher. Maybe simplified textbooks offering just proofs, cross referenced with the theory behind each proof (Maybe in a different section, or a different book, or right with the proof). Then, if a teacher finds that focusing on theory in class works best, then the text book becomes a source of verification and example. Almost like a dictionary of math. And if the teacher wishes to focus on the proofs then that teacher can leave the theory for homework (maybe essays on the proof learned that day, or writing and solving their own word problems.) Sort of like a cliff notes for math.

Either way could be done, the books can be designed to have the knowledge necessary to meet national standards; it's up to the teacher to make sure that the students learn. I was bored much of the time in math class because the teacher was saying pretty much the same thing as our textbooks. The teacher seemed just like a mouthpiece, there was no life to the lesson. But if a teacher has to decide for herself exactly how to phrase the lesson, how to structure it, how to tailor it to the individual characteristics of that class, then he can teach as a person, and not simply as a mouthpiece.