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From Susan: I think that you will find some insight to what Minoru was talking about if you check the following website: http://www.systemath.com/index.html I am a homeschooling mother of 9 children, and have been intrigued by this man's ideas regarding teaching math. I have not personally viewed any of his materials, although I would certainly like to.
Second letter from Minoru: I am sorry, but I believe that you have missed the point I was trying to make. The new new math that Japaneese students learn which does not have the repetitions that even the current American math has works. Japaneese students prove that you do not need the early, boring repetitions. Students who know the foundations of math do not have a problem with arrithmatic.
Yes I have been to a store with the computers are out of order. There is no problem in Japan at least. We seem to do well teaching what you call fuzzy science and new math (Chaos theory is what you call butterfly math, Evolution is widely accepted) You have also mixed up cause an effect. The new math came as a response to America losing their lead in Math and science because nations like Germany and Japan had teaching methods that surpassed America's. The system that you want to go back to is flawed.
I don't have time to respond with facts right now, Minoru, but I did want to post your letter. I don't agree with you, but I find your observations interesting. Do you have an actual study that can back up your assertions? That would help, because without documentation your message sounds like one more opinion. Our U.S. colleges are full of "progressive" professors who agree with you. Many others don't.
Here is a link I posted today that puts new math into a context that explains one of it purposes:
The Art and Science of Irrational Education: "In order to create the 'new man' for the new state, one must first capture the language. Then they must capture the institutions such as the universities. The totalitarians have done that in the United States in the last half-century far better than if we had been invaded by Russians in the '60s. Instead we were invaded by the products of the Frankfurt School of Sociology and its generals such as Herbert Marcuse and Saul Alinsky....
"But to reconstruct humanity, the new totalitarians first have to break down the old man. Science, math, rational thought are antithetical to what the new totalitarians perceive as recreating mankind in their image. They have even found ways to subvert objective disciplines, along with the facts and truths of math and science in public schools. The 'new' math, the 'new' science – all of it is about creating the re-socialized child.... Eventually, excellence and achievement will only be acceptable or allowed for those who have scrambled to the top of the collectivist heap." Brainwashing in America
From Minoru Akiba: The biggest problem with American math education is that most Americans seem to believe the idiotic notion that math is about numbers when really it is about logic and paterns. Your math teaching spends years addressing peripheral ideas of like arithmatic when students of that age should be learning central ideas like set theory and applications.
In a typical American High School, homework consists of 20 or so problems. In a Japaneese Secondary School, homework would be 1 or 2 problem. This is because the problems are much more in depth instead of the senseless repetition that is used in American school. (See the TIMMS study at http://timss.bc.edu/) That is the reason why Americans do so poorly, it is not only that you lack basics, it is that you do not even know what basics are.
The new math that you speak of was an attempt to use Japaneese ideas; however, it fails because elementary and many high school teachers do not understand math. In most high schools, very little true math is not taught until Calculus. Many homeshcools are even worse judging from what has been said. People with Your ideas about math are very antiquicated and are holding America back.
Thank you, Minoru, for sharing your observations. But new new math has deprived young people of the ability to do simple multiplications and divisions -- the kind needed even to solve simple math problems we face in our daily lives. Have you ever tried to pay for a purchase in a store or fast foods chain where the computers were temporarily out of order? Today's clerk's cannot even add up a purchase of hamburgers, chips and juice without high tech support. You need the repetitive drills in multiplication and division in order to have the foundations so ready in your mind that you can use mathematical logic to solve all kinds of simple problems. Then, with the factual foundation, you can go on to the philosophy of math and apply as you go.
Long before the age of fuzzy science and new new math, America excelled in math, science and engineering. We have corrupted -- dumbed down -- or education system and face the terrible consequences. For an example, see the next entry:
From a concerned parent in Floral Park, NY: This is a MATH assignment:
Fill in the missing word :
EVENT CERTAIN IMPOSSIBLE
- An event is _______________ if it will never happen.
- An ________________ is something that happens.
- An event is ____________ if it will always happen.
Tell whether the event is certain or impossible to happen.
- Pencils will fall from the sky ____________
- Winter in Alaska is cold _________________
- You will walk on the moon tonight ______________
- Putting your hand in boiling water will burn you __________________
If a block has the #'s 1-4 is it certain or impossible that you will roll a # less than 5 ._______________
This is 3rd grade math. Does it seem like math to you? Does it seem a little easy for 3rd graders?
The schools is John Lewis Elementary Schools. The 3rd grade book it came from is Math Advantage on My Own -- Practice.
Two responses to the above math assignments from South Africa:
From a "knowledgeable homeschooling parent who is part of South Africa's Legal Defense for homeschoolers: Looking at the exercise, it seems as if it might be part of something related to laying the groundwork for some ideas about scientific proof. If so, and given the complete ignorance of principles of logical proof among most adults (particularly in America!) it might not be such a bad exercise at Grade 3 level.
From Lynda: The material shown below is the first step in learning about probability and Statistics, a branch of mathematics. I lectured similar material to first year B.Com students in their first Statistics 1 lesson at Damelin college about 3 years ago. Of course there were many educationally disadvantaged students, so the material had to be basic (especially for Stats!)- I think introducing these concepts at primary level is excellent. The advantage we have in
homeschooling is that real-life situations provide far more opportunities to teach this than filling in missing words.
This link was sent to us: The STEM Project Symbol/Dream Catcher. See Symbols (scroll to dreamcatcher) and Establishing a Global Spirituality. Deut 18:9-13
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