One Point of View: Guiding the Elementary School Curriculum

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<ul><li><p>One Point of View: Guiding the Elementary School CurriculumAuthor(s): James E. SchultzSource: The Arithmetic Teacher, Vol. 31, No. 9 (May 1984), p. 2Published by: National Council of Teachers of MathematicsStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41192399 .Accessed: 10/06/2014 19:50</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to The Arithmetic Teacher.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 188.72.127.85 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:50:56 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=nctmhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/41192399?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>One Point Of X7GCD </p><p>Guiding the Elementary School Curriculum </p><p>By James E. Schultz Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210 </p><p>DIS) 4 </p><p>faS An Agenda for Action (NCTM </p><p>1980) certainly provides a framework to guide school mathematics in the 1980s and beyond. Although it is a major step in the right direction, this relatively brief document does not spell out many of the specific steps needed to direct mathematics instruc- tion for millions of students in this decade. </p><p>Despite the best efforts of class- room teachers, textbook publishers, and mathematics educators to bring about the kind of changes the Agenda calls for, additional help in the form of more specific guidelines is needed. In particular, the current mechanisms for curricular development and change in elementary school mathe- matics are slow and cumbersome at best. </p><p>Classroom teachers know the abili- ties and limitations of their students, but they look to mathematics educa- tors for help in determining directions for such global issues as the use of microcomputers or calculators or the role of problem solving. Classroom teachers also look to publishers to provide textual materials that meet their needs. </p><p>Textbook publishers do want to </p><p>The Editorial Panel encourages readers to send their reactions to the author with copies to NCTM (1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091) for consideration in "Readers1 Dia- logue." Please double space all letters that are to be considered for publication. </p><p>2 </p><p>provide effective materials for class- room teachers. They rely on a number of classroom teachers as authors and consultants and survey the opinions of hundreds of others. They attempt to satisfy a wide variety of state and local guidelines that sometimes con- flict. The publishers also seek the opinions of mathematics educators and rely on experienced editors to develop the best possible materials. But they must exercise great care in a market where new elementary mathe- matics texts can be published only once or twice in a decade at a cost of millions of dollars. They cannot real- istically be expected to pioneer educa- tional reform. </p><p>Many mathematics educators be- come involved, as individuals, in de- veloping curricular materials. The more conscientious people in the field maintain close contact with teachers and children in the schools, but these educators lack the power to initiate change in the curriculum directly. </p><p>Ultimately, publishers provide what they think teachers want, and teachers use what publishers provide. What is lacking is a guiding force, a unifying agency that can assist class- room teachers, textbook publishers, and mathematics educators in stimu- lating change. This agency could en- hance the voice of classroom teachers and mathematics educators, and it could diminish the risks borne by pub- lishers. This agency could be a newly formed committee of the NCTM. </p><p>To insure a broad representation of ideas and to reduce the danger of domination by any one faction, mem- bership on the committee should in- </p><p>clude outstanding classroom teachers, experienced editors from various pub- lishing companies, and leading mathe- matics educators. The committee should include authors and editors but be balanced by NCTM members who have no ties to particular publishing companies. All proceedings of the committee would be fully public; their findings would be recommendations, but ones likely to be implemented. </p><p>The product of the committee's ef- forts could be a well-conceived series of specific curricular recommenda- tions, taking into account the impact of technology and other factors that should shape the mathematics curric- ulum more significantly than they do now. The committee could provide direction in such areas as evaluating the role of fractions versus decimals, metric versus customary systems of measure, and the value of basic algo- rithms. If established, the committee could insure that fewer important decisions of this kind would be left to chance. </p><p>The committee could enlarge on the contributions of An Agenda for Ac- tion by taking into account recom- mendations of other bodies, such as the Conference Board on the Mathe- matical Sciences. The new committee could also respond to areas of rapid change and make specific recommen- dations about the treatment of topics at different grade levels. </p><p>Such a committee might not solve all the problems involved in directing the development of the mathematics curriculum, but its establishment would be another step in the right direction, m </p><p>Arithmetic Teacher </p><p>This content downloaded from 188.72.127.85 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:50:56 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p>Article Contentsp. 2</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsThe Arithmetic Teacher, Vol. 31, No. 9 (May 1984), pp. 1-44Front MatterOne Point of View: Guiding the Elementary School Curriculum [pp. 2-2]Readers' Dialogue [pp. 3-5]Teacher EducationHelping Preservice Teachers Develop an Awareness of Curricular Issues [pp. 6-8]</p><p>Let's Do ItDealing with Data [pp. 9-15]</p><p>Which Comes FirstLength, Area, or Volume? [pp. 16-18, 26-27]Ideas [pp. 20-24]What's Going On [pp. 25-25]Computer Corner [pp. 28-29]Reviewing and ViewingComputer MaterialsReview: untitled [pp. 30-30]Review: untitled [pp. 30-30]Review: untitled [pp. 30-31]Review: untitled [pp. 31-31]Review: untitled [pp. 31-32]</p><p>New Books for PupilsReview: untitled [pp. 32-32]Review: untitled [pp. 32-32]Review: untitled [pp. 32-32]Review: untitled [pp. 32-32]</p><p>New Books for TeachersFrom NCTMReview: untitled [pp. 32-33]</p><p>From Other PublishersReview: untitled [pp. 33-33]</p><p>EtceteraReview: untitled [pp. 33-33]Review: untitled [pp. 33-34]Review: untitled [pp. 34-34]Review: untitled [pp. 34-34]</p><p>Research ReportProblem Solving [pp. 36-36]</p><p>From the File [pp. 37-37]Back Matter</p></li></ul>

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