Letter to the Editor

School children can no longer do maths, even in Bavaria

We should thank the Math teachers and professors who have written a scathing letter about maths lessons and about the orientation towards competences (Current Concerns from 18 May 2017 http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/en/editions/2017/no-11-15-mai-2017/enseignement-des-mathematiques-et-orientation-sur-les-competences-lettre-ouverte.html). Now we are being served that which has been cooking for a long time.
The reasons, which are explained in the scathing letter with regards to lacking maths knowledge of beginner students who lack the ability to use maths techniques, are the superficially instructed lessons in the middle school and the orientation towards competences.
A deconstruction of maths knowledge can already be seen, even in the primary school. With the introduction of the primary school curriculum in the year 2000 in Bavaria, the addition of numbers over ten (10) was no longer taught in a reasonable way nor practised. In many places, the school children were left for weeks to find out on their own how to add numbers with a result over 10, when 6 + 6 are added only to find out that not 6 + 3 + 3 rather, 6 + 4 + 2 is what the solution should look like. The little 1x1 timetable is no longer learned by heart, rather concluded: 5 x 5 is 25, 6 x 5 is 5 x 5 + 1 x 5. If a school child who is still trying to solve such maths problems in the middle school, then he will fail the next school level (high school) because he is unable to use an automatically internalised way of solving maths problems. With the introduction of the curriculum-Plus in the primary school (Autumn 2014) the situation should have become even worse because the orientation towards competences is focus point and the ways of addition are practised even less and are less automatic.
Now it is the turn of German teachers and professors to write such a scathing letter because with regards to the knowledge of the German language, the situation is not any better for our children and teenagers.

Michaela Dittner-Nagel, senoir councillor of studies

(Translation Current Concerns)