donderdag 28 augustus 2008

The math-debate revisited

While on my bike to the Hanze after the summerbreak I was contemplating the math-debate that keeps going on in dutch education.

As you probably know the concept of "competency" has been leading in the HBO. We define a competency to be a combination of knowledge, skill and professional attitude.
In making the education "competency focussed" a lot of math that could not directly be linked to competencies was removed from the curricula. (This also solved the problems of too many students failing for these subjects. Of course the level of input from HAVO is a factor here, too.)

When it became clear that too much math had been removed the debate was on how we could align math with competencies. Most of the time the focus was on the knowledge-aspect of math and competencies.

The thought that struck me was that maybe we should be looking at the skill-part of the competencies. Why not look at math as training for skills like modeling, abstract reasoning and problem solving. An analogy (always risky): a basketballplayer lifts a lot of weights without complaining that he doesn't need to do that in the match. And the brain is our muscle.

I'll leave it at this and won't attempt to get chess into the curriculum. ;-) But maybe we could take a fresh look at the HBO-competencies with this in mind. There are some points where the level of abstract reasoning could be more specified (A3 - Scientific Application, A6 - Working problem directed)