1 Mar 2010
What is wrong with math education
Teacher at Ho Math and Chess Tutoring Centre
March 1, 2010
I have been involving in the research subjects of math and chess for over 15 years and have published 30 math and chess related workbooks math and over 70 articles written in the related fields of math and chess. All these articles can be searched on Internet.
My experience shows that chess is a fun game some kids like to "play", but they were not driven by the reason that it is for improving their problem solving skills so they "should" play.
Some kids also do not get the benefits on play chess. Why? They simply only push "woods" and lose interests after many "losses". Children can still shut off their brains if they want to by just simply pushing pieces.
However, chess and math can be combined if done right, then chess does help. There are many patterns such as cause and result benefits in chess and other games or projects can not be found and exist only in chess. There are of course other equivalent games can be "played" to get the similar benefits but chess is the most popular.
I have also founded a math and chess-learning centre called Ho Math and Chess. After over 15 years of daily teaching and observations on kids from kindergarten to grade 12, I have some insights to share. With my own experience, research, and observations, we are moving the direction of math education into math, chess, puzzles, and virtual toys integrated worksheets
You ask why? The answer is simple, it is what kids like.
My feeling is that math educators have failed to produce a style of worksheets kids like. Many never asked what kinds of worksheets kids like instead; they just gave to them and expected them to do it.
Can pure computation worksheets be modified in a way so they can also train kids to think at the same time? This is what Ho Math and Chess has been providing answers to parents and children, yes. we have produced products which are pure number crunching worksheets but require children to think and they can not simply just "push" pieces like some do in playing chess. There are "tricked" to think, it is amazing stuff we have been creating.
We can argue and debate how math should be taught until cow comes home, but the end result is we still have to ask kids to work on some paper type math worksheets and this is one of the problems our math education has been failing here but no one seems to have brought it up to the surface.
I have made myself as a professional math worksheets creator and I can see the dramatic difference when different styles of worksheets are presented to kids - some kids’ eyes just light up.
At Ho Math and Chess, we feed kids with something their brain like - a kind of worksheets combined math with chess, puzzles, mazes, and virtual toys. There are no messy game pieces or puzzle pieces to clean up after classes since toys are virtual toys. The interaction between kids and teacher is great because it is all through printable worksheets, not computers.
Kids think they are working/playing on puzzles, mazes, and virtual toys but in fact they also are working on math, this is amazing. You wonder why we have not thought 10 years, 20 years or even 30 years ago? My simple reason is because no one has been willing to put in efforts to think about it until Ho Math and Chess embarked on this type of research.
We even created a special teaching chess set for kids as young as 4 years old to learn chess.
More details can be found at www.mathandchess.com.