– According to Tara Houle, a parent advocate and publisher of a math petition in the British Columbia province of Canada, “21st century learning” is the latest trend favored by education leaders, which focuses on big ideas rather than learning multiplication tables. A trend which may dumb down the next generation.

– The British Columbia Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCTF) published recently a math pamphlet stating that memorization can generate anxiety and may be harmful to children. An “absolute drivel,” writes Houle. She thinks that, on the contrary, the biggest deficit in today’s education is the lack of basic skills through teacher-led explicit instruction, memorization and regular practice – the sheer opposite of the 21st century’s learning principles.

– Research in cognitive science has shown that students’ abilities in division and fractional arithmetic in elementary school are the best predictor of their success in math at the end of high school. Still, according to Houle, trending fads like 21st century learning which have been put in practice in some other countries have already hurt a whole generation of children.



Image: Mandelbrot Set Rainbow Colors / WikimediaCommons