Dr. Stat

Dr. Stat is a Statistics Professor. This blog is his opportunity to share ideas and opinions about education (especially math education), politics, and whatever else comes up.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Future Elementary Teachers

AP, 1/19/2005, Nashville TN: "State report paints unflattering picture of math education"
Teacher preparation is one of the main problems, the Nashville School of the Arts instructor said, illustrated by a college class he took on teaching math."The (college) students in the class could not work the problems in the fourth-grade math book," he said. "The teacher told me, after we had our first test, that he was actually going to have to teach them the math."
End quote.

How true, and not only in TN. I taught "Math for Elementary Teachers" several times to Junior and Senior education students. Among the topics that caused major difficulty were:
Problems on Areas and Volumes
Metric and English units conversions
Simple Geometric Proofs
They demanded practice tests and complained bitterly when they didn't get A's. Many elementary teachers simply haven't got the math skills needed to do the math they are supposed to be teaching. They need to be able to think about the topics at a high enough level to plan for questions, come up with alternative explanations, etc. Unfortunately, many elementary education teachers (over half, I think) cannot operate at this level when they graduate from college.