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Three Crucial Elements to Become Educated: Reading, Writing and Numbers.

Teacher...and teaching is an interesting blog I've discovered (and subscribed) managed by Seattle Emeritus Professor, Les Blackwell. He goes over the divided decision where the Seattle school system, moved to redefine their mathematics curriculum, and parents and teachers who have challenged the board new policy.

Blackwell writes that, "much of the mathematics dilemma can be found in our philosophy of education." And he continues:

An example of a curriculum within Idealism would be the Great Books Selection. Experts in literature would select what they thought was the best and presented it to the rest of us. How about mathematics--how would that get taught? Numbers would be presented to the student. Probably addition next then subtraction. Once that is managed, multiplication tables would be memorized. Rote learning. Then we face division. The teacher would probably show the student on paper or a white board and then have them duplicate the problem. Making sure the student understands would be the solving of the mathematics problems and presenting it to the teacher. At higher levels of understanding a student would be taught algebra and geometry in the same manner. An example of a problem, the solution done by the teacher and then the students does the problem.

He says that such conception obeys to the Idealism. To professor Les, reading, writing and numbers are abstractions and each needs to have a meaning connected.

With a simplified example explains Realism. Without his "How Women Learn" and too little references we've also conceded you dear reader have the advantage. However, he points out: "In the Idealism mode, a student memories the learning. In the Realistic mode the student discovers or owns the learning. Which one is the better method?"

Since this post open doors for a posterior discussion, we want to mention that intersection of idealism and realism is signaled as Pragmatism, according to Mr. Blackwell. Pragmatism is a philosophical current we still need to explain and apply to our education practice. When we wrote our dissertation thesis all those paradigms were to be perfectly understood.

You are invited.

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  1. Interesting piece! Especially to the ex-math teacher part of me. Once a math guy, always a math guy. I'm not an advocate of rote memorization overall, but learning times tables can make a kid's life much easier. Otherwise, he'll remember what he uses.