# [Numeracy 163] Re: Application vs. Theory

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Young, Krista krista.young at abileneisd.org
Mon Feb 15 09:49:17 EST 2010

I am not a mathematician, but have 16 years in adult education, and am one of the lead facilitators for the Texas ABE Math Initiative. I also teach an ASE/GED level math class. Personally, I can see that theory is important, and may lead to some deeper math understanding; however, in the real world, if I can get my students (and fellow teachers) to understand the application of math, I feel I have done my job. When teaching integers, I stress the addition rules using a number line, thermometer, check book - whatever works. When we hit subtraction - I use two strategies - one is that the subtraction is the "range" between the numbers using the number line, and two, this is the rule, and "Momma said so, so do it." (By this point in my class, I have created a level of trust and safety in the room, so they will take this direction very easily.) I understand that the mathematicians on this list are cringing right now, but this works for me and my students. They choose the strategy that works for them, and we move on. As long as they can continuously and consistently apply the rules, I am happy.

Also, in the real world of adult education, most teachers do not have the time or expertise to teach theory. Our math initiative has been created to work with teachers to give them strategies so they can work through their own fear of math. I cannot even see a practical way to introduce the theory that has been discussed here. My teachers would run out of the room, screaming.

Thank you for providing this forum.

Krista Young
Texas ABE Math Initiative, Facilitator
________________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Denney, Brooke [denneyb at cowley.edu]
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2010 11:05 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 160] Application vs. Theory

Michael: