John is a teacher of math and a homeschooling parent who offers a radical-sounding proposal: that we cease to require math instruction in middle and high school. He came to this point of view over a number of years, as he attempted (and failed) to convince students that the math they were learning was beautiful, useful, or an imperative component of their future prosperity. When he stopped trying to connect math with students and simple tried to connect with the students themselves, he made a profound discovery – kids are suffering from “math anxiety.” If the goal of math is to teach us deductive and inductive reasoning, might games and puzzles be equally effective in developing kids’ reasoning skills – and allow them to fulfill their life missions? “We want to reawaken analytical and critical thinking schools that have been anesthetized by the standard curriculum,” says John.
John Bennett is a math teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and a home-schooling father of four. An outspoken advocate of education reform, he has presented lectures and workshops throughout California. He uses logic puzzles and strategy games in the classroom (and at home) to supplement the traditional mathematics curriculum. John has written three volumes of Pentagrid Puzzles (Amazon.com)*, a new puzzle form he created to challenge deductive logic and visual-spatial reasoning.
Originally published on Nov 8, 2011 by TedX Talks
This video presentation validated all of the times I have said, “Why do I need to know this? When will I ever use this in the future?” Have you ever felt that way? Comment below. I’d love to hear your take.
*Links added to original text.