What is Math?

The problem we really have in math education is not that computers might dumb it down but that we have dumbed down problems right now.         Conrad Wolfram

Staff, parents and students are having many conversations about math at Park Avenue these days…given some of the recent trends in our mathematics performance on the EQAO assessment; these conversations are both timely and important.

We are all entitled to have an opinion about this topic and I’m glad people are sharing their opinions. I came across this TED talk from mathematician/researcher Conrad Wolfram that poses some dramatic and interesting challenges to our traditional views on how mathematics should be taught. I am hoping that those who wish to continue this dialogue will look beyond what they know and believe and open up to the ideas of others; from within our school community and from beyond – including those who are engaged in research like Wolfram.

It turns out that Barbie was right- math is hard. Learning to think mathematically is a difficult as is teaching others to think mathematically.  I am hoping that we can extend the conversations we have started into this forum; to capture some of our ideas and perspectives, the build some understandings on how we can work together as students, families and educators and to push all of our thinking forward.

Our school improvement work isn’t easy, it not always quick, but it is both urgent and important.

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