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Be a Ferdinand

A poor question: "What curriculum do you use?" Why do I say "poor"?

The word "curriculum" is derived from the Latin verb curro, "to run." Thus, a curriculum essentially is a "race course."

Unfortunately, too many teachers (and administrators) treat their mathematics curriculum as a race course. It becomes a competition: Who can finish fastest and first? With this approach, it is easy to see how skills dominate both curriculums and assessments.

And even more unfortunately, all students in a class do not begin at the same starting line, though ill-defined it may be.

Expect some students to be facing backwards...or even sideways. And some do not hear the imagined starter's gun. Many do not cross the state-implemented finish lines.

Now, teaching and learning mathematics is not a race. No finish line exists. And, the proclaimed winners are often not the ones who understand...but they can probably perform skills with speed.

What about the Ferdinands who stop to smell the flowers? They are the "true" winners, as they get a chance to explore interesting aspects of mathematics.