Monday, October 31, 2011

Saving Math

***** (Yes, I give it 5 stars)

Everybody knows math in America is somewhat a joke.  In a recent international assessment of mathematics performance, the US ranked a failing 28 out of 40 participating countries. Students are increasing choosing to study anything but math in college (every year there are less and less students enrolling to major in mathematics), and if you ask anyone how they would describe math - 9/10 people will say something to the effect of "boring, equations, memorization, and rules."

Sound familiar?

I'll admit it, I am one of those people who have failed to fall in love with math.  Yet, I feel like there is something wrong with that, and Boaler agrees.  She argues that instead of being boring and ruled by equations, math in fact is about critical thinking and creativity, words that most (including me) are attracted to, yet do not see how math can encompass such. 

As a math avoider (Ok, ok, I admit - I never took a math class since junior year in high school), I am completely inspired by this book.  If the ideas presented in Boaler's What's Math Got To Do With It? were applied when I was in school, my relationship with math could have been a lot different.  Not only does Boaler present the social commentary on the state of math in today's education system, she provides practical examples of puzzles and exercises that are meant to spark creativity and critical thinking. 

All around, this book not only acknowledges the issue with math education, but also provides very clear directions on how to resolve some of these issues.  It was an inspiration to me, influencing my work and I highly recommend it to parents, educators, and anyone interested in education.  This book will change the way you see math. 

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