This article provides commentary on the traditional mathematics education paradigm, its detrimental consequences, and evidence and reasons for shifting to current reform in primary and secondary education. Battista introduces controversial criticisms to current reform movements being made in mathematics education and how the majority of American schools still follow the traditional route when teaching students math. He explains that this route leads to failure of students to retain understanding, thus wasting enormous amounts of time and money to reteach students concepts they had been taught in previous years. After reviewing a short history of the mathematics education reform movement, Battista elaborates on the constructivist view that students must personally construct mathematical ideas as they make sense of a situation.
I think like any major change in society, the reform movement in mathematics education will take time to catch on. Scientific studies on this subject have only come into play within the past quarter-century, and in the world of scholarly research, this is relatively young. The thesis of Battista’s article is not to educate readers about mathematics education reform, but to educate readers about mathematics educators who are not educating themselves about mathematics education reform. In a way, he is “preaching to the choir.” By that I mean, his audience by definition will have already agreed with his point of view. The people he is trying to persuade are not likely aware of this article. However, I think that research about research can help, through recommendation and word of mouth. Readers of this article can recommend it to their uninformed colleagues, and every bit of awareness helps.
The more teachers that take Battista’s research into account and spread the news to fellow educators, administrators, and policymakers, the more the mathematics education community can be lead in the right direction. Soon the
traditional mode of teaching will no longer be mainstream, and students will be accustomed to constructing their own understanding.
- Battista, M. T. (). The mathematical miseducation of America's youth: Ignoring research and scientific study in education. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(6), 424–432.