Blame the teacher?

In my opinion, JMC‘s report Digital technologies and mathematics education deserves a careful analysis but not  perhaps for reasons envisaged by its authors. In particular, I feel that the report exhibits a patronising attitude to school teachers.

From the begining of JMC’s work on the Report,  one of its principal aims was defined as

Identify the reasons why ICT is not being exploited by the majority of teachers of mathematics

And the reason was found: teachers. This is what the Report says:

The recent report from the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM) [22] concluded that mathematics teachers‘ concerns about the use of digital technologies related to:a lack of confidence with digital technologies;

  • fears about resolving problems with the technology;
  • fears about knowing less than their learners;
  • access to digital technologies;
  • inappropriate training;
  • lack of time for preparation;
  • a lack of awareness of how technology might support learning;
  • not having technology use clearly embedded into schemes of work.
It appears that the recommendations of the Report could be compressed in one  line: give teachers a good pep talk, and the problem is solved. In my assessment, the Report does not attempt even  to analyse  difficulties arising at the level of basics of mathematics cognition in a new sensory environment, does not show signs of awareness of challenges facing the didactics of mathematics, does not address  issues in economics of education.
Disclaimer. The views expressed in htis post do not necessary represent position of the London Mathematical Society or any other organisation or institution.