Many students today have lost the ability to logically and reasonably think out decisions or situations. This is due to the number of children who use calculators on mathematics or math related concepts. To help increase the number of children who can think logically and reasonably, schools at least in primary education should ban the use of calculators and focus on a more hands on experience when learning math. With less students using calculators on their class work it will allow them with their intuition, it allows for thought for creativity, and it will help to further aid the technological advances we have made around the planet.
There was a mathematical institute that had a program called RME, which stood for Realistic Mathematics Education. RME is an instructional approach in mathematics that has been developed in the Netherlands (Hirza, Kusumah, Darhim, and Zulkardi). The RME came from a man named Freudenthal, and he emphasized that the students must be allowed and supported to create their own ideas and use their own strategies. The RME program saw much successes seeing that students that went through the RME- based program had better improvement of intuition ability that those who go the conventional mathematics instruction (Hirza, Kusumah, Darhim, and Zulkardi). This is one of the biggest problems that calculators create. When students can reuse calculators on mathematical assessments, it creates a gap between the answer a problem and the process of solving to get an answer. Math programs should help relate math to students by using relatable or realistic situations, so the students can see the importance of math.
The second reason how using calculator is hurting students is by taking away a child’s creativity. An article called “Students’ creative thinking process stages: Implementation of realistic mathematics education” written by Jonni Sitorus, a Doctoral program student Researcher, and Masrayati, a Doctoral program student Teacher, states that the brain is divided into two parts, convergent thinking of the left hemisphere and Creativity on the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere or creative side tends to divergent thinking, a spread thinking process by giving emphasis on suitability. Creativity is built on four basic aspects of creativity, namely: creative people, creative ideas, creative process, and creative environment. Without the use of calculators, students will be able to think and imagen new ways to look and solve problems or vis-versa. Kim Coxon, who wrote “The creativity crisis: The decrease in creative thinking scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.”, found a 37% decrease in the ability of students to elaborate on their ideas from 1984-2008. One of the causes was a hyper-focus on multiple choice test scores has resulted in increased classroom time for rote forms of learning and less time spent on extended activities, including those allowing for creative development. Creative projects take more time to ultimately emerge with an elaborate product and may be seen as taking time away from test preparation in the current school climate. However, extended projects in architecture allow teachers to meet mathematics standards while also allowing for creative talent development (Senne, Coxon 31- 39). This concept should be applied to all classes so that students can take less standardized test and be able to do more projects that allow themselves to ask themselves why these results are what they are, even if it takes more time, it is more beneficial.
Third, calculators should be banned from primary schools because it is also affecting children’s ability to think with out a calculator there for cutting short of the success we have had in technology in the past 100 years. Shane Vander Hart wrote an article called, “Why Kids Can’t Do Math Without a Calculator and the Common Core Isn’t Helping,” where she interviewed Vern Williams who was a teacher on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel that reported to President Bush in 2008. Williams stated that he Williams doesn’t just prefer his old chalkboard to the high-tech version. His kids learn from textbooks that are decades old—not because they can’t afford new ones, but because Williams and a handful of his like-minded colleagues know the old ones are better. The school’s parent-teacher association buys them from used bookstores because the county won’t pay for them. His preferred algebra book, he says, is “in-your-face algebra. They give amazing outstanding examples. They teach the lessons.” Sure, calculators save a ton of time, but when you think about it for just for a second, when the teachers allow the student to use the calculator because they don’t understand the material they are already one step behind. To keep these children from getting behind more practice should be given so that each and every student understands what they are to do when the questions are given. This may seem like it would take more time out of other content but if the teacher has to review it later because the students don’t understand then they would lose out on valuable information anyways.
Each of these reasons rare extremely feasible considering that all of them save money due to the fact that the schools won’t have to buy or buy as many calculators for students to use for doing their work in class. Each solution to not using calculators will make it more challenging for teachers to cover most of the material in one school year, but yet by doing these it will also allow the teacher to spend less time on reviewing the material that the students forgot or don’t remember because they will be more fundamentally sound with how the solve and explain their answers. It will also be difficult for each school to be put the right direction and it will because they can’t just make each grade start using each of these methods. By the time the students are in 5th grade, they will already be used to using calculators for most of their work. It would be best to start this at the kindergarden or 1st grade level so that when those group of kids go to the next grade and a new group of students arrive, it won’t be such a foreign way of thinking to these children. This would take about 3-5 years to straighten out for all of the schools in the United States would have to change around the each of their math departments and possible would hire new teachers to accurately teach these students the right ways to learn mathematics.
In conclusion, calculators should be banned from all primary education programs for without them, students would have a more intuitive mind for critical thinking, be able to think more creatively or outside of the box and be can greatly help the technological advances that we have made to push us farther. Also it will allow students to complete assessments without the aid of something besides what they can do. Even though this would take a few years to change the methods of learning for students, it is the most beneficial ways for students to succeed. Does the American Educational System want to see the minds of all these children grow? Then allow them to think on their own and not something for them, it may surprise everyone just what we are capable of.
Hirza, Bonita, et al. “Improving Intuition Skills with Realistic Mathematics Education.” Journal on Mathematics Education, vol. 5, no. 1, 2014, doi:10.22342/jme.5.1.1446.27-34.
Heart, Shane V. “Why Kids Can’t Do Math Without a Calculator and the Common Core Isn’t Helping.” Truth in American Education, 25 June 2012
Senne, Jessica, and Steve V. Coxon. “Architecture: A Nexus of Creativity, Math, and Spatial Ability.” Gifted Child Today, vol. 39, no. 1, 2016, pp. 31–39., doi:10.1177/1076217515
Sitorus, Jonni, and Masrayati. “Students’ Creative Thinking Process Stages: Implementation of Realistic Mathematics Education.” Thinking Skills and Creativity, Elsevier, 18 Sept. 2016, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871187116301183. 613385.
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