Agreement on the Sad Results of ‘Parrot Math’

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To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing T.C. O’Brien’s Commentary decrying the teaching of “Parrot Math,” or the rote recall of numerical facts, in the name of high standards ("Mathematics and the Pure in Heart," Feb. 28, 2007).

As one who has worked for 30 years with college students training to become elementary school teachers, I have seen the sad results of such teaching. Many of my students at the university level still could not think of real-life problems that fit multiplication facts such as six times three equals 18. Our testing mania needs to be redirected from Parrot Math to the true basic concepts Mr. O’Brien recommends.

Diane Resek
Professor Emerita of Mathematics
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, Calif.

Vol. 26, Issue 27, Page 36

Published in Print: March 14, 2007, as Agreement on the Sad Results of ‘Parrot Math’
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