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Anchors, A-Way!

In a paper written long ago, Tom O'Brien, SIU mathematics educator, argued that education does not progress or change because of "anchors" that "keep us rooted to the same place."

Tom claimed that three anchors limited "children's intellectual sailing":

  • Anchor of Print, which is static and passive, when hands-on experiences are needed
  • Anchor of Facts, which are viewed as iummutable and replace time spent constructing knowledge
  • Anchor of Transmission, exemplified by the lecture or "sage on the stage," when interactions and dialogue are needed
Now, Tom suggested that computers were the solution for de-anchoring mathematics education. But, computer software can be just as tedious, as it often is mere replication of the anchors of print, facts, and transmission ...in all of their worst ways.

Thus, I suggest that the solution is a "force" of high-quality, energetic mathematics teachers, supported by a challenging high-quality curricula. Then, the "force" be with us, and the Anchors be moved A-Way!

Source: Thomas O'Brien's "Three Anchors and CAI," NASSP Bulletin, April 1986.