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Bruce Stephens

It seems to me that the approach might never have been very effective. Just that it worked (and still works) for a small minority of people, and now we'd like it to work for a larger proportion.

It might be that only 18% can do that particular problem, but maybe that was always so. It seems perfectly reasonable to consider what kinds of teaching would achieve whatever results are deemed to be useful (or otherwise valued), and it seems quite plausible (almost certain) that the appropriate teaching now would differ from that decades ago in various ways.

Joe Mako

I like Dan Meyer's perspective on this.
http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=18278

A perplexing, puzzling lesson is a more important aspect to pay attention to.

Also related is his presentation: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover.html

Marley Howards

Math is a pain at first, especially with all the equations and letter substitutions. Wished that I was more enthusiastic about it back in school. Could have done me a lot of good because math is everywhere. - Marl of Mymathdone.com

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