Critical Thinking

people-316506_640Well here I am, still waiting for my computer lab pieces to come in. I’ve been having meetings with a lot of different people who are all giving me really great ideas on how to create this custom class exactly the way I want, but alas, here I am still teaching pencil to paper.

Perhaps it’s my own impatience, but my students’ questions have started to become my own, and I’m beginning to ask myself “what is the point of this.”

For most of us, the way that we do mathematics in the classroom is not the way we use mathematics in the real world. It’s cool how we can create an equation for pretty much anything, but that’s not how most of us approach it in real life. As a commenter correctly pointed out in a recent post, logarithms are used in every day life when we say things like “I make six figures.” While that may be true, I can’t legitimized a whole unit on logarithms– the meaning, properties, change of base, logarithmic equations– based on the fact that “I make six figures”.

The truth is that I’ve had misconception about my job, as I think a lot of educators do. I’m not a math teacher so that I can teach mathematics; I’m a math teacher to teach critical thinking skills. Actually, no teacher teaches in order to impart random facts onto students that the government deems important for them to know. All teachers, no matter their content, teach for the sake of imparting critical thinking, a love for learning, and method for communicating what they’ve learned. After all remembering is the lowest rank of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

As a math teacher I think my job is made difficult because mathematics is so hard to relate to the real world in meaningful ways, as opposed to some contrived word problem. Even if math is taught in a pure math type of way, many students don’t have the type of minds to be able to appreciate that.

This is why I’ve been obsessing over computer science lately. I think I’ve finally found a way to engage students the logical problem solving. We’ll see how it goes!








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