NSW Maths experts say curriculum is trendy and shallow
They criticized proposals to delay the teaching of key concepts such as linear equations (ax + b = c) and multiplication tables, which were pushed back from Grades 3 to 4 and were “framed in terms of models and strategies, without emphasizing mastery, “the letter said.
“The continued elimination and weakening of foundational skills will contribute to the root cause of Australian students’ slippage in international comparisons: students end up knowing less math,” the letter said.
ACARA said the project borrowed from the Singapore program. But one of the letter’s signatories, Greg Ashman, a math professor and doctoral student at the University of NSW, said students in Singapore were learning multiplication tables in Grades 2 and 3.
He said students in Singapore need to master or master their schedules. “We are moving in the opposite direction. There has been a significant softening of the multiplication tables; a similar thing has happened with linear equations, which are the entry point for abstract mathematics, ”he said.
Another signatory, University of NSW Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology, John Sweller, criticized the proposed program’s emphasis on inquiry-based learning, or the teaching philosophy that students learn best if they discover things for themselves.
“As far as I know, not a single [study] indicated that if you solve something on your own you will remember it better than if someone tells you, ”he said. “Humans have evolved over generations to get information from each other.
However, the CEO of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, Allan Dougan, is supporting the project. He said that knowing math was important, but “then there’s the next step, which is what [students] do with that ”.
“It’s about asking ourselves how we equip our young people to come out and be effective users of mathematics in the 21st century, how to contribute to scientific research, to economics, to finance, all of this requires that mathematics be used. in different ways, “he said.
“Not all young people will be mathematicians. What we’re trying to do is make sure every young person has access to the math knowledge and skills that will prepare them for life after school.
Fay Ligonis, a former elementary school teacher who runs Super Kids Tutoring in Double Bay, supports teaching multiplication as early as possible, starting in kindergarten with language around “groups of” and using materials and games. concrete in 1st and 2nd year.
She advocates “talking to children about values” by associating multiplication with everyday events, such as purchases, and by multiplying the objects that interest them.
“Taking that pressure off until they hit fourth grade may be a good thing, but I really think they need to be exposed to the language of multiplication sooner,” she said. “And addition, you have to understand addition to understand multiplication. That’s what multiplication is, repeated addition.
ACARA Executive Director David de Carvalho said it was understandable that teachers had different views on the program.
“ACARA welcomes all views and will carefully consider the contributions that are submitted through the consultation website to fulfill the terms of reference given to us by the ministers of education,” he said. .
NSW is working on its own math curriculum, which is aligned with the national curriculum. A spokeswoman for the NSW Education Standards Authority said NESA was working closely with education sectors to draft a response to proposed revisions to the national curriculum.
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