by Everard Barrett, Professor B
What was your experience in elementary and middle school mathematics? Did you experience it as connected and flowing like a story, or as disconnected and fragmented? Throughout my thirty years of national and international staff development presentations, the vast majority (by far) of my audiences concur regarding the utterly frustrating disconnection and fragmentation of the content they experienced in what was referred to as "mathematics." Was it mathematics?
Well, mathematics is the academic area that studies structures for their own sake, and to build a structure, whether it be physical (like a building) or mental (like a story you know) you must connect the pieces (fragments) in a specific way. In fact, when you tell a story you heard a long time ago, you become aware that you are mentally building its structure, from "scratch," if you are alert enough to perceive that the connections keep "popping up" as you go. At no point do you see the whole story ahead of you. If they did not pop up, you would not be able to verbalize the flow (the structure) of the story. Clearly, we recall stories by means of reconstruction of connections, not memorization. Our methodology permits learners to retain mathematics in the same way. Now do you see the contradiction? The disconnection and fragmentation of content you experienced in elementary to middle school and beyond was, in fact (by definition), the very opposite of math.
The prefix "anti" has such meanings as "against", "the opposite of", "preventing" or "counteracting". So in order to eliminate the confusion caused by giving the same name to something and its opposite, I hope the time has finally arrived to accurately rename that disconnected, fragmented content as "anti-math." Anti-math deactivates learners' natural gift for perceiving and receiving the structures within mathematics, the very academic area that studies structures (by placing large intervals of time between connected math concepts and skills). It is an absolute nuisance to mathematics education. So what was it that you "hated" or were not "good at"? It was not math; it was anti-math!
If two people tell the same story, there words are different (and also different from the original version) but the events are the same and are recalled in the same sequence. Hence there is no intentional and laborious memorization of words, as in the learning of a poem. What children effortlessly (naturally) perceive , receive and retain from a story, therefore, is the structured connection and flow of its events; its internal contextual dynamics of relationships. If I say the words "woods", "wolf", "grandma", they are likely to immediately reactivate, after all these years, a structured dynamics of relationships entitled "Little Red Riding Hood". This is the genius in virtually all children for learning mathematics. Our methodology activates this universal genius for mastery learning of math by ensuring that children experience it the same way they experience stories; as connected and flowing. Similar to their experiences with stories, children will then learn and retain math without memorization or remediation; two of the major pillars of conventional mathematics education. Professor B methodology will enable this nation to produce home-grown brains, rather than import them.