TEDxManhattanBeach - John Bennett - Why Math Instruction Is Unnecessary

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Talk title: Why math instruction is unnecessary

John is a teacher of math and a homeschooling parent who offers a radical-sounding proposal: that we cease to require math instruction in middle and high school. He came to this point of view over a number of years, as he attempted (and failed) to convince students that the math they were learning was beautiful, useful, or an imperative component of their future prosperity. When he stopped trying to connect math with students and simple tried to connect with the students themselves, he made a profound discovery - kids are suffering from "math anxiety." If the goal of teaching math is to teach us deductive and inductive reasoning, might games and puzzles be equally effective in developing kids' reasoning skills - and allow them to fulfill their life missions? "We want to reawaken analytical and critical thinking schools that have been anesthetized by the standard curriculum," says John.

John Bennett is a math teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and a home-schooling father of four. An outspoken advocate of education reform, he has presented lectures and workshops throughout California. He uses logic puzzles and strategy games in the classroom (and at home) to supplement the traditional mathematics curriculum. John has written three volumes of Pentagrid Puzzles, a new puzzle form he created to challenge deductive logic and visual-spatial reasoning.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxManhattanBeach, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxManhattanBeach event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

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Denise Owens
Denise Owens
31 October 2019

Yes this I'd do true. I homeschool my children and think everyday when will they use this. Time could be spent on learning to read better. I really think that high school should end at 16 and then off to college (if they are going to college)

Tommy Jensen
Tommy Jensen
15 October 2019

But conversely, if math would be taught properly throughout middle and high school, then there would appear increasing numbers of upcoming math teachers actually able to make math a fun and useful subject for the next generation of students, no? I suspect that is where the bottleneck sits. There are not enough good math teachers, and that alone creates a vicious cycle.

Douglas Fenwick
Douglas Fenwick
04 September 2019

Why is it that only math teachers are required to answer the question "when will I ever use this?" Most things taught in high school and beyond are not necessary for every day life, so why make anyone go past 8th grade anyways? I'm not advocating for that, simply pointing out the logical fallacy.

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Something somewhere
Something somewhere
28 August 2019

This video was posted in 2011, still the truth.

StormCrow Alpha
StormCrow Alpha
19 August 2019

I quite agreed with this idea and I am a mathematician and scientist. The university I teach for is in the process of revamping these requirements. Eliminating algebra courses for students in liberal arts and non-STEM majors seems to be the right idea but we should be careful not to simply do this for the sake of those students. We also need to encourage and invite more students in the US to take the STEM pathway so as to clearly define what is required in either direction.

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muneera xx
Muneera xx
10 August 2019

the fact that i'm an IT student and i have like 2 or 3 or even more math subjects to study <3 still studying while knowing what i'm studying is pointless..

The Most Interesting Man On Youtube
The Most Interesting Man On Youtube
18 June 2019

Whoever came up with teaching advanced Math to everybody let him be accursed !

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
18 June 2019

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.

byronp petisb
Byronp petisb
08 June 2019

HIGHER MATH IS NOT USEFUL FOR THE EVERYDAY LIFE. MATH IS ESSENTIAL FOR OUR CIVILIZATION TO RISE. MATH IS GOOD FOR TECHNOLOGY, UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE AND HOW IT WORKS.

Ian Zinsmeister
Ian Zinsmeister
27 May 2019

Thank you for this. while my class rank was above average and i could passionately remember everything i had learned in history, i would have to spend hours at the end of every year literally RE-LEARNING absolutely everything for algebra from before the Christmas break. seriously though, high school math and chemistry are the reasons that ive given up on almost all other options and decided to be a cop or rancher...

meh!
Meh!
27 May 2019

I use a bit of algebra here and there. Mainly when I want to figure out what something cost before a discount. if 60 dollars is 20% off, how much am I actually saving? x-.2x=.8x 60/.8=... nothing serious. I'm probably a rare individual who really does that, and I don't have to do it. I just get curious.

Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris
19 November 2019

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Baloon
Baloon
21 May 2019

I disagree, It's not completely about the material that is being taught. I think that math is about learning certain skills and principles and applying them to certain, specific situations. That skill can be used for many more things than simply just calculating numbers.

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