You Need Concept and Skill

fraction-comic.jpg

This is part of an actual conversation during an “AIS” math class. If you are unfamiliar with “AIS,” it stands for Academic Intervention Services. The AIS math class is designed to help students who are struggling with various math concepts (we have ELA AIS as well). Most students end up in AIS because of a below proficient score on the previous years state exam. I am not necessarily opposed to testing per se, as long as it is used appropriately. If we are teaching using best practice and developing students at their level, the tests are something we will just deal with as the time comes. One would think that just by listening to the conversation, that these particular students do not need remediation for this particular topic.

I believe that the teaching of concept and skill are linked and cannot stand alone in isolation. One without the other would be like peanut-butter without the jelly. Each decent on their own, but together a classic. As we pilot, we must look at what will be the best fit for our students. We need to take what we know is best practice and incorporate the new program with that.

For example, when developing the idea of division of fractions. Some teachers will just teach “invert and multiply.” Others will just teach it through a picture representation. Well what happens when students move on to more difficult fractions and algebra? Why aren’t we discussing the generalized formula and the inverse operation of division, multiplication. What do I mean?

division-of-fractions.jpg

The focus needs to be on the students and teaching them what they need, not a test, a program, or a workbook.