A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Teaching the Teachers

It appears that Elementary School Teachers in Ontario, who have graduated High School and gone on to further education and obtained their Teaching Certificate, need further education in order to teach BASIC math to elementary age kids. It also seems that schools need to be forced to teach this basic skill with any consistency with many schools spending less that an hour covering math skills.

Concerned about a troubling slip in elementary math scores, the Ontario government will require all students from Grades 1 to 8 to have at least 60 minutes of math instruction a day starting in September.
In a $60 million “renewed math strategy” unveiled Monday by Education Minister Liz Sandals, Ontario also will require each school to have at least one “math lead teacher” — in larger schools,

Are we saying that a teacher who has their certificate does NOT have the skills and knowledge necessary to teach basic math and we need more 'specialist' teachers? That we need to give said teachers up to five additional days of math professional development a year at a cost of $60 million in order that they can do so?

Some teachers questioned which subjects they will have to cut to find 60 minutes for math, but many already spend that much time on math, suggested Poleen Grewal, superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Peel District School Board, which is in the second year of a big push on math improvement. You’d actually have to spend that much time if you’re engaging in problem-solving; a lot of schools actually spend two 40- to 50-minute periods on math, so I don’t think 60 minutes is a stretch.”

The president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario questioned the ongoing focus on literacy and numeracy......... whilst other subjects are no doubt also important perhaps he can explain how you can write reports or indeed understand other subjects like science or geography without these basic skills.

Let us ensure that our kids AND the teachers have a good grasp of the basic skills of Math and English before proceeding to other areas of interest.

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