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Watch the video above, and you will see this approach in action.The researchers concluded that the American teaching approach did not require students to do much mathematical thinking and reasoning.
*** In 1993, a group of researchers set out to do something that had never been done before.
They would hire a videographer to travel across the United States and record a random sample of eighth-grade math classes.
Students did not appear to be learning the math in a very deep way. There’s nothing wrong with learning tricks if they help you remember things.
At one point in the American video above, a student is struggling to remember the difference between supplementary and complementary angles. Complementary angles add up to 90 degrees, and supplementary angles add up to 180 degrees. The problem is when the math students are asked to do doesn’t get much beyond this kind of memorization. The Japanese approach to teaching required students to develop a more sophisticated understanding of mathematics.
The researchers came up with a name to describe the way students in the United States were being taught math.
They called it “learning terms and practicing procedures.” Teachers would present definitions of terms and demonstrate procedures for solving specific problems.
The researchers came up with a name to describe Japanese teaching.
They called it “structured problem solving.” The researchers concluded that the American teaching approach did not require students to do much mathematical thinking and reasoning. Supplementary: 180.” I remember learning lots of little tricks like this in my math classes growing up.
Students in Japan did memorize terms and formulas, and teachers did explicitly demonstrate procedures for solving problems, but there was significantly more time devoted to having the students apply this knowledge, on their own, to new and challenging problems.
The students learn there are multiple ways to solve a math problem; it’s not just about memorizing a procedure the teacher taught you.