Mathematics is now becoming a headache for schools across the globe, troubling academicians and educators who have lost confidence in the discipline. Researchers, academics and educators are working hard to suggest best practises for improving the math curricula, however, the need of the hour is to understand the underlying trends and challenges confronted by math education.
According to an article by Visiting Professor of Practice in Education at Harvard University Pasi Sahlberg and Research Professor in Education at Boston College Andy Hargreaves, problems and challenges faced by math education cannot be resolved by simply getting-back to the basics.
One possible solution would be to give similar treatment to math and literacy on elementary and secondary levels. However math reform would face an additional obstacle in this pursuit. School children across the globe love reading, writing and reading books, however, majority of students dislike math. Also, very few teachers feel competent enough to teach math while a majority of schools lack experienced staff members, placing the future of math at risk.
Countries need to design and implement a well-planned math curricula coupled with effective teaching strategies that will not only attract potential math teachers, but will also reduce the apprehensions of academicians and educators
For instance in Ontario, almost 80 percent elementary teachers hold no university qualification in math, while in Finland around half of the elementary teachers studied science and math at their respective universities.
This literacy strategy has been adopted by numerous countries as a viable means to deal with the math problem. For instance, the Canadian government emphasises on numeracy and literacy at school-level and has invested resources for the establishment of a Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat. Expert coaches in Canada work in collaboration with classroom teachers, demonstrating effective learning practises with feedback on how these strategies can be used optimally. This strategy has consumed undue attention on a global level, leaving too little oxygen for the math problem to breathe. Reforming literacy and math together is an impossible task, as the scope of these subjects vary in extensiveness, leaving educators more distressed and frustrated
According to a report by the Canadian think tank Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, inquiry-based approaches in math education can produce fruitful results for the discipline. Australian critics have also supported inquiry-based curriculum as a means of reinvigorating math education globally. According to a recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald, indirect and explicit instruction based model was much effective in achieving higher student grades and outcomes. However, majority of parents and educators across the globe are sceptical towards this unfamiliar math strategy.
The writers suggested countries needed to design and implement a well-planned math curricula; coupled with effective teaching strategies that would not only attract potential math teachers, but would also reduce the apprehensions of academicians and educators about the “math problem”, globally.