The future of math education

Math class
Teacher Denise Severing congratulates a child during a math lesson at the federally-funded Head Start school on September 20, 2012 in Woodbourne, New York.
John Moore/Getty Images

Chances are you don't consider yourself a "math person." The subject comes more naturally to some, but teachers are finding new ways to make math an easier subject for everyone by recognizing and teaching to different learning styles.

Prof. Anthony Carnvale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, studies new ways of learning. Math classes have become increasingly abstract, he told The New York Times, which makes students lose a connection to the material:

Since 1983 we have emphasized abstract academic curriculums in teaching science and math, especially math. But we know, from studying brain function, that more applied and practical teaching works better and attracts people more. The whole movement toward high standards in science and math has become too much of a good thing.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing to raise standards in math and try to make everybody reach them. But not when you only have one pathway, which in the case of math and science is to move people through a hierarchy of abstraction. Every course every year gets more and more abstract. It has no real connection to the world.

Carnvale joins The Daily Circuit along with middle school math teacher Andrew Schwen to discuss the best way to keep students interested in math.

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