The Teaching We Envision Differs Significantly From What Many Parents Themselves Have Experienced As Students

Matthew Oldridge
2 min readJan 23, 2017

I often come back to this statement. It’s from a pamphlet about mathematics teaching and learning, from 1989-around the time of the first NCTM reforms (the start of the “new math”, not to be confused with 1960s New Math-set theory with 8 year olds, anyone?)

So here we are in 2017, and if I can borrow a phrase from Talking Heads, it’s “same as it ever was”. If I were to go into my son’s classroom and look for the filmstrip projector, or the phonics workbooks I had, they won’t be there. They didn’t have Sphero in 1983 though, but he does. They don’t sit the kids down in the gym and show them “Kids of Degrassi Street” or National Film Board films (remember the clacking of the projector as the film feeds through it?)

Or maybe you don’t remember that at all, and that’s fine. Socrates tutored Plato, who tutored Aristotle. Aristotle taught Alexander, who would become “the great”. Would Socrates have recognized Alexander’s education as being like his own? Socrates had teachers too. And so it goes, student becomes teacher, from generation to generation, since time out of mind.

For what it’s worth, I want my sons to have new and interesting teaching methods. Things change, Socrates. Some of the knowledge and skills stay the same, but lots of things change, Socrates.

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Matthew Oldridge

Writing about creativity, books, productivity, education, particularly mathematics, music, and whatever else “catches my mind”. ~Thinking about things~