Globe and Mail Dec. 03 2013.
“Results from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reveal that almost all provinces have seen large increases over the last decade in the percentage of 15-year-old students failing the math test.”
Recently, Canadians learned that the country has slipped out of the top ten in the OECD international educational ratings, particularly with respect to mathematics. Predictably, educationists and columnists took sides between the “discovery method” of teaching math, which evidently does not appear to be working to keep Canada in the top ten, and the traditional “back to basics” approach through rote memorization, repetition and standard methods, which does not seem to work very well either. With the advocates for these two views throwing verbal rocks at each other, I thought it was time to re-focus the debate.
The following is a letter I wrote to the National Post, and which was published on December 6, 2013.
Postscript In Memoriam
I hope that the views in my letter at least partially reflect and celebrate the exemplary teaching of Dr. David Haley, for many years the Head of the Mathematics Department at Acadia University, frequent visiting professor at Stanford University.