RME Part 1 – You’ve Asked It

This series of posts are excerpted from a long ago essay I wrote about Realistic Mathematics Education during my master’s work at the University of Oklahoma. Enjoy!

The classic math class, wrought with structural, mechanistic design void of the true form of mathematics for the sake of well-structured, chronologically situated, convenient progress toward comprehension of the historical study of math, stands in stark contrast to the creative nature, chaotic potential, and intricate manifolds that only begin to describe the beauty of mathematics.

What was once a field of exploration and invention is now but a hurdle restraining young minds from elusive inquiry, narrative, creativity, and most of all purpose. As the standardization of mathematics has expanded from the Committee of Ten in 1892 to the first national standards for any subject produced by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 1989, to the Common Core State Standards Initiative of 2010, mathematics has been subject to a systematic dismantling; a final product is presented to students absent of the strife and ingenuity within mathematics whose innovations brought societies from the brink of unorchestrated disaster and into highly functioning networks of resources.

Perhaps the dreaded philosophical, quasi-existential question that slips from the mouths of bored math students across the world should have been the first clue that the schooling version of math arouses not even a slight glimpse of what it is and can truly be; “When am I ever going to need this?”

Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Coming Soon Part 4

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About the Author: Levi Patrick

I serve as the Director of Secondary Mathematics for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. This is my twelfth year in education and I am so happy to be surrounded by OKMath teachers who are so passionate, creative, and determined to do great things for mathematics education in Oklahoma.

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