Back to the Math Basics in Ontario!

While Lilley says rote learning will be back, such as practising the time tables, I wonder about such basics as telling time.

While Lilley says rote learning will be back, such as practising the time tables, I wonder about such basics as telling time.

Check out Brian Lilley’s latest column which does indeed prove that elections have consequences!

According to Lilley, the Doug Ford Conservative Government in Ontario will soon introduce a new math curriculum for all public elementary and secondary grades. It will, allegedly, be curriculum guidelines that bring back the basics, while introducing up-to-date skills that will be needed by today’s students in the future.

This is certainly good news for those of us who have been demanding “bring back the basics” for over a decade now.

I am a curriculum development specialist and understand exactly what it is going to take to implement a change like this. It will involve a massive ideological and practical change that will certainly take the 4 years Lilley says the government will need to get everything in place.

Older teachers with a lot of experience will be fine because they used to teach the basics. Newer teachers, however, will need some retraining and mentoring. And, of course, teacher training institutions will need to find out why the “discovery math” research was so wrong.

In other words, this change will affect just about everyone in the public education system, including parents. Lilley says homework will be easier for parents. Time will tell about that.  Anyway, whatever the challenges ahead, I respect the Ford Government moving forward on this.

I should point out that not every teacher in the public system will be affected — because not every teacher teaches math.  For example, while classroom teachers in the primary and junior grades (1-6) usually teach their own students math. It is subject specialist teachers who teach math at the intermediate (7 and 8) level. Of course, subject specialists and lead teachers are involved in teaching math at the high school level, where there is still streaming.

While Lilley says rote learning will be back, such as practising the time tables, I wonder about such basics as telling time. It may come as a surprise to some, but kids in Grades 4 and 5 today only learn to tell the time digitally. I learned that first hand from a great-grandson who is in Grade 5. A very good student, I asked him one day what time it was. He said I don’t know because I don’t have my watch or tablet with me. I pointed out the clock on the hutch, near where he was standing, and he said something to the effect that I don’t know how to read a clock.

To say I was shocked would be an understatement but he explained that everything computerized was digital. Actually, no, not everything is digital. There are millions of clocks everywhere! Then, there is the 24 hour clock, which we need to know to travel. Anyway, using an analog clock will be one of the topics I will look for when the new curriculum comes out.

The crux of the matter is what the Ontario Government curriculum developers will include in the new curriculum. And, those developers will be made up of teams of curriculum specialists, from school boards to faculties of education, to make those decisions. Contrary to public opinion, politicians and bureaucrats do NOT do that.

In the meantime, let’s get a comment discussion going.

C/P at Jacksnewswatch.

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