I thought arithmetic was boring.
I thought the reason other nations beat America in international math tests was that their students worked harder than ours.
I can hardly wait!
In American elementary mathematics education, arithmetic is viewed as negligible, sometimes even with pity and disdain—like Cinderella in her stepmother’s house. Many people seem to believe that arithmetic is only composed of a multitude of “math facts” and a handful of algorithms. . . Who would expect that the intellectual demand for learning such a subject actually is challenging and exciting?
What’s So Hard about Arithmetic?
If you have not yet read Ma’s original work, these articles will give you a taste of her topic:
- Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics
Thorough review by Richard Askey in the American Educator.
- What Do You Need to Know to Teach Your Child Elementary Mathematics?
Another review, this one directed at homeschoolers, by Jennifer Dees.
- Liping Ma’s Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics
A short outline of the book’s key points.
- Arithmetic in American Mathematics Education: An Abandoned Arena?
Remarks by Liping Ma at the National Summit on the Mathematical Education of Teachers.
- Three Ways To Think about Addition
Before you click, can you guess what the three ways are? Bar models provide insight into one of the most basic operations in arithmetic.
- What Does Liping Ma REALLY say?
Notes from a lecture at Rutgers University.
- Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding
Hung-Hsi Wu examines a “bogus dichotomy in mathematics education.”
What Does It Take To Teach Elementary Math?
- Knowing Mathematics for Teaching
Who knows mathematics well enough to teach 3rd grade?
- What’s Sophisticated about Elementary Mathematics?
Hung-Hsi Wu argues that schools need specialized math teachers at the elementary level.
- What Is So Difficult about the Preparation of Mathematics Teachers?
“Our universities do not adequately prepare mathematics teachers for their mathematical needs in the school classroom. . . Mathematics is by its very nature a subject of transcendental clarity. In context, there is never any doubt as to what a concept means, why something is true, or where a certain concept or theorem is situated in the overall mathematical structure. Yet mathematics is often presented to school students as a mystifying mess. . .”
- Beyond Singapore’s Mathematics Texbooks
A look at how one nation successfully prepares and supports math teachers with clearly-defined content, a flexible educational structure, and a focus on teacher development.
[Hat tip: kitchen table math, the sequel.]
I finally got the new edition through my library, and it was somewhat disappointing. They hardly added anything new, where I was hoping for at least a couple chapters expanding on the idea of PUFM. If your budget is tight, you won’t miss anything by ordering a used copy of the original version.
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