January 19, 2010
New World Math and Old World Math: Examining the role of Teachers & Parents in North America and parts of Europe with those in the Far East and South Asia
Around the world, math teachers are teaching similar math materials, but the major differentiator between these regional groups is the level of stress given to learning the basics by math teachers in the Far East and South Asia.
In North America, course outlines, which are provided through school districts and boards, outline mandatory material that must be covered within each area of study. For example, with grade one or 5 to 6 year old students, mathematics are taught as a more abstract component of learning. In many instances, calculators are introduced and accepted as necessary at this age. There is a stated requirement that all children must understand the multiplication table along with performing long division, on paper, by the time they complete grade 5 or age 10 to 11.
Unfortunately, the time given to students to perfect their times tables, along with long division, or even long addition or subtraction, is very little. Children are introduced to applying math in real life examples and to notice how math is everywhere. Our findings of North American parents with children in elementary school indicated that the type of math problems being taught were very confusing, and were, in most instances, unable to help their child. The general lifestyle of North American parents (2 working parents), who live on their own, greatly reduced the amount of time they spent helping their children.
In the Far East and South Asia, schools are also provided with guidelines, but there is a strong emphasis on repetition and memorizing. Therefore, because students are not permitted to use a calculator, by the nature of repetition and memory (also known as neuroplasticity), become excellent in mathematics, to the point where they could answer many problems faster than with the use of a calculator. Children as young as 6 years could recite the answers to random multiplication problems into the 16 times table. Parents and grandparents spend, on average, 2 hours every day working with their children or grandchildren after school.
There also exists a competition factor in the Far East and South Asia. Parents push their children to excel so their children will be better positioned to help the family with a better paying job when they finish their schooling. This type of competitive atmosphere, with help from Parents, is producing some of the worlds brightest students. Almost every North American Fortune 1000 company has recruiters ready to hire the top students as they exit school from the Far East and South Asia.
Research has also indicated a general decline in technology-related research & development in North America, with the bulk of this research now being performed in the Far East and South Asia. Many believe this to be the result of the low cost to hire. While this is true, there should be an understanding that Fortune 1000 companies will hire those with genuine talents and skills – regardless of where you live.
With the old world method of teaching math, North American and certain European countries: placed Man on the moon, developed computers and software designed to run those computers, developed nuclear power, engineered some of the best architectural wonders and produced most of the leading thinkers the world has ever known.
TeachMeWell.com provides elementary school students with a system of learning that is effective at stressing the basics, so your child can be prepared for a future without limits. Register your child, or students, and join today!
Written by Dinesh Bharuchi, Founder of TeachMeWell
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