For almost 10 years, math test scores and student performance in math has been steadily declining in this province. According to the National Post, only half of grade six Ontario students are reaching the expected provincial standards; and while the government has finally taken measures to combat this alarming rate of decline, teachers, parents, and experts have already pointed the finger at a few suspects. The truth, however, is that there may be several contributing factors.
The Premier of Ontario and former Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne, has admitted to the public and concerned parents that the math curriculum is in dire need of revision. In the wake of this provincial-wide concern, many Ontario teachers are blaming the curriculum for not allowing elementary students in lower grades enough time to understand certain basic concepts before moving onto more complex problems.
Are Teachers to Blame?
While it is often said that a teacher can make you love or hate math, it’s important to understand that teachers are limited by the curriculum. If they don’t agree with the curriculum, there’s not much they can do about it. Many teachers, however, agree that the curriculum needs to change and are being consulted by the provincial government on how it can improve.
The main argument here is that parents aren’t participating in their children’s math learning like they do with other subjects. While many parents realize the importance of reading with their children, they don’t necessarily have the same point of view when it comes to developing math skills. Math homework can be intimidating even to parents, so it’s possible that their dislike for the subject or inability to help their children solve basic problems feeds into the young student’s grades. The age-old complaint that half the math we learn in school will never be used in the real world can have a negative impact on a student’s ability or willingness to grasp certain concepts.
Why Online Learning May Help Student do Better in Math
Online learning offers an alternative approach to math education, one which is more student-oriented than teacher-centered. While all BrightMinds students learn from the Ontario Secondary Curriculum, the approach to delivering math curriculum is quite different from that of the traditional classroom setting. At BrightMinds, e-learning instructors design mathematics with a cross-curricular focus, one that allows student to better understand and appreciate the application and connection of mathematics concept they learn in the online classroom with other subject matters such as science and technology and in a broader sense that of daily life. With “career connection” activities, students gradually begin to view math in a more positive light, one that is seamlessly integrated in their day-to-day living rather than just a hard subject they need to learn.
Furthermore, with video lectures that are pre-recorded, students have the opportunity to spend more time on concepts that are challenging and move faster on concepts they find easier to understand. This time-management feature is simply not available to students within a brick and mortar classroom. In a classroom environment, students need to adjust their pace of learning to the pace of the instructor’s teaching and in such environment, it is easy to fall behind and become demotivated when the instructor moves quickly on concepts that pupils find challenging.
With limited hours in a classroom-lecture, students only get to do a handful of practice questions on each topic. With e learning, class time becomes more flexible and customizable to student’s schedule and learning needs. This provides students with the opportunity to do more practice questions when needed. Lastly, at BrightMinds, students are given access to a diverse set of learning tools that enables them to explore mathematics concepts in depth. Options of enriched practices, applications and career connections are available to students who have mastered the basic skills and are curious to learn above and beyond what the curriculum offers.
If your child is struggling with their math homework or they just can’t seem to get the grades they’ve been working so hard to achieve, BrightMinds provides an alternative learning environment to help students reach their ultimate goals. Register today for your online course, or contact us for more details.