As our children return to a new routine, whether it will be with online or in-person instruction, I think we can be confident that school staff have their best interests at heart and are implementing new policies and modes of curriculum delivery as best they can be given in the current climate we find ourselves in.
In high school, the school year will be broken into “quadmesters” of 44 or 45 days each, but it’s not a stretch to see that this is not ideal for students studying mathematics. If we were learning to read, we wouldn’t just read for 45 days, and then pack our books away for the rest of the year. Mathematics is no different in that regard, it is a discipline that requires practice, if not daily, then several times per week. Sorry, no breaks. No quick fixes.
The quadmester somewhat mimics summer school, in that concepts are streamed down to a very basic level. Activities and higher-level applications and problem-solving challenges fall by the wayside.
There will be very few opportunities for students to reach their full potential. And those students who struggled in the pre-COVID environment will find their frustrations amplified.
I believe we need to ask, do we want our children to just earn their credit, or to start building a foundation today, to set long term goals for the future. They don’t need to aspire to be mathematicians to reap the benefits that a good practice routine would offer. Often we are asked, “When will we use this?” Be assured, it will be used, every time there is a problem to solve. When you practice math, you are exercising your brain.
To the high school students who may be reading this, don’t be in a rush. Take the time you need to truly learn because university/college is just around the corner.
Your professors have a curriculum to deliver as well, and they will not lower their expectations based on what you may or may not have learned in your final years of high school. You will, in many ways, be on your own, and it will be at this time that you will reap what you have sown, and be equipped to take on any challenge that comes your way.
- Wiesia Galina, OCT