– In the Canadian Province of Ontario, “inquiry-based learning” and teachers’ poor background in math seem to be the main culprits of a decade of decline in elementary math school scores. Most education experts agree that students are not the problem. In Ontario, any discussion about the dismal math school results has to start with the controversial issue of the so-called “discovery-based learning” that focuses on students’ ideas, observations, and questions, instead of teaching the basics.
– With the discovery learning method, students learn by investigating problems through scenarios and questions asked by their teachers, rather that being simply presented with information. But some groups like WISE Math (Western Initiative for Strengthening Education in Math), and MathRight, advocate to get back to the fundamentals along the math curriculum. “Students don’t have basic math facts,” said for her part Mary Reid, assistant professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. “You need the basics. But you also need the inquiry-based learning. You need a combination.”
Renaissance Mathematics (Wikimedia)