Teaching Without Curriculum.

Before I began writing about different math curricula I used  with my son, I have to make a full disclosure about my emotional state in regard to that topic. I feel a lot of anger and confusion.  This anger is the result of those experiences:

1. None of the math textbooks or workbooks I bought for my son was recommended  or even known to school.

2. None of the program my son attended proposed any math curriculum for him. I am grateful that the two schools accepted Saxon Math  which I had been using long before suggesting this program to school.

3.I learned about many math programs from parents’ e-mail lists or later from catalogs, which somehow found a way to my home.

4.The schools tend to use goals (too narrow and too few) written in the IEP  as a reason NOT TO WORK ON ANYTHING ELSE. For a student who has an access to the general education classes, that might be not as confining and disastrous as it is for a student whose whole education has been reduced to IEP goals.

5.Working only on specific math goals in a vacuum, without connecting them to related topics, leads to  many holes in understanding of  the concepts.  Consequently, we demand that children subjected to such approach jump from a stone to a stone while crossing a brook, instead of walking over the bridge made of well-connected and supported boards as their typical peers do with the help of a well designed, comprehensive curriculum.

6.Lack of curriculum forces teachers to search for appropriate pages on internet.  The pages from internet allow for extra practice but not for an introduction of  novel concepts.  Relying on such pages negatively affects teaching, as it leads to mechanical applying of formulas without understanding concepts behind them.  It is not good for the teacher and it is certainly not good for the student. 

7. I suspect, however, that this approach is wholeheartedly supported by the school administration as it saves money.  Instead of buying expensive textbooks and workbooks for students,  the administration relies on teachers to print pages from internet to address narrowly  formulated IEP’s goals. Those goals, I have to emphasize again, are too narrow to result in any meaningful learning. And thus the students who need more to learn, get much, much less than their typical peers.


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1 Comment

  1. Jean

     /  February 11, 2013

    Maria, I share your frustration, and in theory teachers should be modifying the general curriculum for our children, and building the foundation for learning, but this is not done.
    Jean

    Reply

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