In an article for the Hechinger Report, Stanford mathematics Professor Jo Boaler argues that, contrary to popular belief, true math skills come from deep understanding rather than memorization. This erroneous assumption is widespread and detrimental to math learners who come to believe they simply aren’t “math people.”
The Common Core math standards do, she says, recognize the value of conceptual learning in math, opening the door for more math learners:
Mathematics is a broad and multidimensional subject. Real mathematics is about inquiry, communication, connections, and visual ideas. We don’t need students to calculate quickly in math. We need students who can ask good questions, map out pathways, reason about complex solutions, set up models and communicate in different forms. All of these ways of working are encouraged by the Common Core.
Boaler and other math and technology professionals contend that math is about much more than calculation. It’s about understanding the key concepts, which the new standards strive to promote by emphasizing depth versus breadth of knowledge.
That’s good for students of all abilities and makes math more approachable to abstract and creative thinkers.
Read the article here.