Concepts are well introduced to students
I am a physician in Charleston. I read the essay titled "Diversity in elementary math is failing" in the Sept. 29 paper. I would like to express my difference of opinion.
I was schooled in India but received my higher education in the United States. My older daughter is now in fourth grade, and I have been actively involved in her education. For four years, starting from kindergarten up to third grade, basic concepts in math, such as counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions are slowly introduced and reinforced over and over again. In fact, up to third grade I was surprised as to how few new concepts are introduced.
At the beginning of every grade, concepts from the previous year are reinforced for the first few months. Now even in fourth grade they started the year with three-minute addition and subtraction quizzes. In fourth grade they are being introduced to the basic concepts of geometry and algebra in a very applied and a non-threatening manner. Ability to measure lengths, talk about different shapes, draw a circle with a compass and everyday applied concepts in algebra are taught. They do need to be introduced to these concepts now so they will not feel threatened when more complicated stuff is expected of them in middle school.
Children need to be challenged with new concepts. Expect more out of your kids and the results with surprise you!
Dr. Manali S. Bendre