It’s as simple as putting together two and two: by all means beef up math instruction for Nova Scotia students. For too long the subject hasn’t received the emphasis it warrants.
The Nova Scotia government has announced that it plans to boost math instruction in schools. For starters, Grade 10 students will go to a full year of instruction starting in 2013, rather than a semester. The new curriculum will be phased in over three years, starting in 2013 with grades Primary to 3 and Grade 10.
That’s good news. Schools and parents get worked up about reading programs for younger grades – and rightfully so. Seeing that students from the beginning are math-literate is equally vital. Does that concern get equal airing though?
Not to underplay the need in other areas – all subjects are valuable – but reports of underperformance in math here and in other parts of the country, at various times, brings about some hand-wringing.
Time to get proactive. And if the province is indeed serious about this it will see that schools have the money and resources to follow through, and not force administrations to rob other areas of instruction to meet new demands.
Another element: if math is deemed a tough subject, is handling it occasionally daunting for teachers? See that they too are suitably equipped.
Also being added to the curriculum, as announced, will be lessons in financial literacy and such vital skills as keeping a budget and calculating interest.
When it comes to reports on student performance in math, Canada is invariably compared to other nations. Young people in some Asian countries are often shown to stand out in the subject. It wouldn’t hurt to have a closer look at teaching methods in countries with stellar results, along with any means used to encourage students in that subject.
And would it be too obvious to mention – that the tech-based industries of the future we keep talking about depend urgently on people with strong math skills?