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I found a great TED Talk video that detailed some of the biggest issues with classroom math instruction today and how we as teachers can work to solve these concerns. The speaker, Dan Meyeer, explained that the five biggest issues in math instruction now is that students lack initiative, lack perseverance, lack retention, have an aversion to word problems, and have an eagerness to simply know the formula.
One of my biggest takeaways from Dan's speech was accepting that students are impatient problem solvers. They expect the solution immediately, and if they cannot find it within their reach, they lose interest. For example, textbooks often are used to cradle students through word problems by giving them step-by-step instructions, examples that mirror the independent practice problems, and complete visuals that show students exactly what to do. Students have become accustomed to this.
As teachers, we must find innovative ways to spark student intuition and let students build their own problem. As teachers, we tend to be TOO helpful.