Thursday, March 08, 2007

a little calculus with your Camus: or, brush up your Schrödinger

Earlier this year another teacher and I were sent to the math department to show them how to incorporate reading and writing into math instruction, as per building initiative. Their response was gracious and witty: "So, when do we get to have math across the curriculum?"

Maybe soon.

Buried in Senate Bill 5955 [pdf] is this nifty proposal:
The professional educator standards board shall:
(a) By December 2007:
(i) Adopt new knowledge and skill standards that prepare all individuals seeking residency teacher certification to integrate mathematics across all content areas...
Rookie teachers would learn how to use logarithms in literature, phase shifts in phys ed, square roots in social studies, and bounded sets in biology.

You might think that as a literature teacher I'd be freaked, but I'm not. I'm quite fond of using math and science in my mini-lectures. Möbius strips, fractals, asymptotes, recursion, imaginary numbers--these are powerful metaphors that beg introduction into the English classroom. (Math is mind-bending.)

I am a bit skeptical, though, of any attempt to mandate such things from the top down--and that a plan to free rookies from math phobia can be pulled together in less than a year.

The bill, currently in committee, is pretty ambitious. There's much more about professional development, certification, and National Board stipends in there. Read it all, then contact your relevant legislator with your thoughts.

Mostly, though, learn to love math. It's fun.

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