Sunday, April 19, 2009

Is the math text readable and/or useful?

Neither black nor white students read their math textbooks. Only foreign students read the math textbooks, and they do so, Uri Treisman discovered, to improve their English!

That there is little value in reading school textbooks was documented in Harriet Tyson-Bernstein's book: The Textbook Fiasco; A Conspiracy of Good Intentions.

In Ref. #5, Paul Davis, Teaching mathematics and Training seals, SIAM News (the newsletter of the [professional] Society for Industrial and Applied Math.), (March 1987) page 7.
Prof. Davis of Worcester Polytechnic Institute wrote:
"The [high school precalculus textbook] ... is no more mathematics than the noise made by trained seals is music. But the trained seal approach abounds in textbooks and in classrooms. It never provides a foundation of fundamental ideas ... . It never offers intellectual challenges, or chances to build confidence and problem-solving skills."

from ...


Anonymous said...

In that case, Treisman, et al might take an opportunity to look at the Singapore textbooks k-12 (this time more closely). Singapore teachers don't have to supplement their instruction. The reform movement is going to absurdities to prove their curriculum works, when everyone can see what a waste and fraud that it really is.

If parents are using books from Singapore to teach their children math at home, then maybe its time that school thought about doing the same thing. Are school reformers willing to go so far as to claim teachers are stupider than parents.

Anonymous said...

The value of textbooks is the value of excellent problems that teach kids how to think. The problems in the reform math textbooks are just plain bad.

Anonymous said...

Once again this is more quackery from the reform camp. They are in the business of selling textbooks plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein speaks about everything but the entire development and evaluation process funded by the NSF-EHM. The differences between Singapore and the US models for textbook development are fundamentally different and comparing textbooks leaves no doubt that the US could be doing a better job.

Who's running reform? A muck of worms? These are the old blind bats, who observe neither the plumage of oysters, nor the shells of birds, which no more change than do our ways.