Jim, however, placed the credit elsewhere. His parents, an engineer and an educator, covertly tutored him in traditional math. Several teachers, in the
privacy of their own classrooms, contravened the official curriculum to teach the problem-solving formulas that constructivist math denigrates as mindless
memorization. "My whole experience in math the last few years has been a struggle against the program," Jim said recently. "Whatever I've achieved, I've achieved in spite of it. Kids do not do better learning math themselves. There's a reason we go to school, which is that there's someone smarter than us with something to teach us."
While the article is interesting, I don't think it goes into enough depth about exactly how they were teaching in this school system. I think Mary - as our resident math constructivist expert - can probably comment on this better than I can. But as we've talked about before, I don't think constructivist necessarily equates with "discovery learning" all the time. There's certainly a place for computation in a constructivist math curriculum, it's just that a constructivist would focus on making sure the students understood what they were learning, not just mindlessly learning the algorithms.