Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another instance of teachers being told to say they don't know

Yesterday I posted about a teacher being told back in 2004 that they didn't know the answer to a student's question, because it was on a religious topic, and some parent some where might be offended.

I find it funny that today I came across Joanne Jacobs' post of Calculators? Don’t answer, which has a very similar issue. At a training session a teacher asked what to tell parents about the use of calculators. Here's the answer:

. . . it’s part of the math wars. The best advice is, Don’t answer that question. You are being asked to fight a battle on a hill that has been custom made to turn you into a fool. And there’s no way to win. So basically, the general advice I give in the math wars is Advice 1. You have to realize that their strategy is to attack you, not your ideas andthey’re going to fool you by making you think they are attacking your ideas.

It is sad that so much of what happens in public schools is political. But that it was you get when the state and federal governments get more and more involved.

For the record we want our children to know how to add, subtract, multiple and divide without the use of calculators. I want them to have a feel for math. I've seen too many people, intelligent people, reach for a calculator when trying to multiple numbers like 2.3 million by 200.

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Crimson Wife said...

Not to mention that if students lack proficiency in solving problems by hand, they will have no clue when they make an input error when using a calculator/spreadsheet/cash register/etc. There have been any number of times when I've looked at the answer spit out by a calculator and gone "whoops, I must've made a mistake somewhere along the line!"

Sebastian said...

I think the situation here isn't just that the teacher is being recommended to say they don't know what a reference implies in order to not offend a family. Rather, they are being told that it is easier and better to be deceptive about calculator use because the questioners are deserving of a truthful answer.
I'm sure if my kids were in school, there would be all sorts of academic and social decisions that I would disagree with. But I would be rightly ticked off if I found out that I was simply being told a falsehood in order to make me go away.

mrs dani said...

My poor sister who is a 4th grade teacher in a major city (and who supports my homeschooling) has so much trouble from the kids and even other teachers because she insists the kids learn (and prove) they know how to do problems by hand before she allows them to use a calculator. Of course you get the kids complaining, but she even had teachers and parents tell her it is no big deal because EVERYONE uses calculators and if they get a job at McDonald's, the register does all the work for them.