– Canada fell out of the top 10 countries in math results in 2012, with two provinces showing statistically significant drops in math performance. According to a new C.D. Howe Institute report, this decline is due to the replacement of traditional rote learning by discovery-based learning methods that promote multiples strategies and estimations.

– Students who don’t know their standard time tables get their working memory overwhelmed and are unable to solve quickly more complex problems. With the discovery system, key operations like addition and subtraction of fractions are delayed until middle school. Among its conclusions, the report recommends the introduction of such concepts earlier in the school program.

– “You know what’s the worst kind of instruction?”, asks Anna Stokke, a University of Winnipeg associate professor, who wrote the C.D. Howe Institute report: “The kind of instruction that makes kids feel stupid. And that’s what a lot of that discovery stuff does; their working memory gets overloaded, they’re confused. That’s bad instruction.”



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