If your child comes to you for help with their homework, you may be confused when you see how it is being taught. The mathematics that students learn today is most likely highly different from what you learned at school.
The main thing to keep in mind is that math hasn’t changed. The way it is taught has. Unfortunately, when Ontario shifted mathematics teaching, parents were not informed. This left many frustrated as they realized they did not understand how to help their children in mathematics.
The shift in the way mathematics is taught was not an overnight decision, although it may seem that way to some parents. Math education had been researched for decades by experts in both the education and mathematics fields, and it was found to be lagging in many areas.
As society becomes more interconnected and globalized, information and technology are rapidly evolving. Since most information is now readily available through our smartphones or tablets, children need to be better versed in complex decision-making and problem-solving as these are skills that computers are not yet able to help with.
We live in a time of significant transformation, which means that children growing up through this period need to receive an education that prepares them for a world of automation and artificial intelligence. According to the 2016 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will work end up working in job types and functions that don’t even exist yet. In the 2018 Future of Jobs Report, it was predicted that human skills such as “creativity, originality, initiative, persuasion, negotiation, and critical thinking will be in high demand along with “attention to detail, resilience, flexibility, and complex problem-solving.” This means the education needs to be designed with platforms that mirror what students will meet when they are ready for college or a career.
The traditional ways of learning are no longer enough to prepare children for the future. There is an urgent need to improve education, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). So, our job as educators and parents is to prepare children for their future by teaching them mathematics that will be useful and applicable in the years to come.
New Ways Of Thinking
The technological world around us today is forcing students into new ways of thinking, which should be reflected in mathematics instruction. Students need to be both effective and efficient thinkers. Effective thinkers are taught to think long term, which means using longer or more complicated methods for solving problems. This may not always provide an answer at first, but it allows students to develop a foundational understanding of math concepts that will eventually give them the skills to question, critique, and reason to get their answers.
Efficient thinkers believe that math should be done in steps and procedures that produce an answer as quickly as possible with the least amount of time involved. Parents may remember this type of thinking from the traditional way math was taught by “borrowing,” “carrying,” or “putting a zero.” Many didn’t fully understand the algorithm but did know that it was fast and got them the correct answer. In the past, those who could get an answer quickly were considered good at mathematics.
Multiple Paths To A Solution
The way that math is taught today prepares children to be creative problem solvers who can find multiple paths to a solution. Students are no longer expected just to get the correct answer; they need to focus on the process.
Over the past few decades, research has shown that children learn math better when taught through guided discovery. This teaching method provides students with support, but they ultimately develop the math rules themselves, a stark difference from learning them through memorization, as many of us parents experienced.
Helping Your Child
Dropkick Math is here for you if your child is coming to you for help with their math homework and you don’t understand how it is being taught. We are a type of online math tutor that can help your child understand the fundamentals of mathematics while also educating the parent. By learning alongside your child, we will expose you to new learning strategies your child is experiencing in their classroom.
It is a common misconception that it is difficult for parents to contribute to their child’s math education. At Dropkick Math, we believe that by working together, both you and your child can learn the fundamentals of math and gain skills that will translate for years to come.
Many people simply go online and search “math tutor near me,” but this will only get you traditional tutors who may not give you and your child the support you need. As one of the leading math programs in Toronto, Dropkick Math provides support in learning key math skills by focusing on relationships and engaging the parent/guardian. Get started today by learning more about our programs.