Call for a new Mathematics curriculum

As a mathematics teacher, I get mixed feelings when I read articles like this one calling for a new Mathematics curriculum.  In my 22 years in education, the Math curriculum in the province of Alberta has changed at least 3 or 4 times.  Some of these changes have been good…some, not so good.  Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that much of what we teach kids in Math is totally irrelevant to the careers that they will find themselves in.  I agree that Math education for the 21st century should involve the disciplines of which the article speaks.  I get excited about the potential to change the Math curriculum to be more relevant for careers that students will be working in.

At the same time, I get a little frustrated.  My experience has shown that we can change our Math curriculum all we want but none of these changes will be effective unless the post-secondary institutions get on board with us.  We are currently developing a new series of courses at the grade 11 and 12 level and we have absolutely no idea if the post-secondary institutions will accept them.  Many years back, we changed our Math program to Pure and Applied Math but the Applied Math 30 course became a dead end because post-secondary institutions were not willing to accept it.  Back in the day, it was touted as the course that kids needed to go to technical school but our local tech school would not even accept it for some programs.  This made kids go back and upgrade to Pure Math.

Bottom line: If we are going to make changes, all of the stakeholders need to be heard from.

Please share your comments.


About Derek Hatch
Principal in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

5 Responses to Call for a new Mathematics curriculum

  1. We have the same problem in BC. If UBC doesn’t accept it for general admission, the stream dies. We’ve recently re-aligned our 3 senior math streams to make Foundations of Math the course that everyone should take, with Apprenticeship & Workplace Math and Pre-calculus the ones that students should take, additionally, to meet their career and academic needs. However, UBC requires Foundations 12 or Pre-calc 11 for general admission (I’m oversimplifying some here). This means that many students are choosing not to take foundations at all and just take Pre-calc, killing this valuable course when in the neighborhood of just 5% of students from my district actually attend UBC. #toomuchklout

    • Thanks for the comment, Jeremy. I figured that my frustration is not province specific. I wonder how we get the post secondary institutions to get on board with us and do what is best for kids.

      Thanks again for stopping by.


  2. Pingback: Call for a new Mathematics curriculum « Hatcherelli Blog | Mathematics teaching |

  3. This is so true, Derek.
    Thank you for posting it. Until there is a major push for everyone to be at the table, representing their institutions (not just their own opinion) this will not change.
    The ministries must all get together and work toward this common goal.

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