Sensible Mathematics: Second Edition by Steven Leinward
Recently I read this book for my mathematics capstone course. My summary and review of the book is below.
Sensible mathematics is a book focused on empowering leaders to push for better mathematics school programs. The book is written towards school leaders, but gives an interesting perspective for a future teacher like me. Leinward explains that the common core state standards are the first step in creating a better math program. It takes leadership and teacher support to implement the common core effectively. He gives many reasons why change is important. One example is the way society is changing. This change demands a different mathematics classroom. Students must be prepared for the workforce where calculators and excel spreadsheets are readily available.
According to the author, one person can make a lot of change in a school’s mathematics program. Schools must provide support for their teachers, but teachers must also provide support to each other. Just one of these teachers has the power to influence a mathematics program. As a teacher, helping my future colleges and challenging them to try new thing in the classroom is very important. There are obstacles according to the author, like the fear of failing. It is important though to encourage new methods and ideas in the classroom. As a teacher, if I lead other teachers to try new strategies and share new strategies with my colleges, I am being a helpful leader, according to Leinward.
I also learned a lot about the shift in mathematics education from this book. I would recommend it to leaders and administrators more than I would teachers, but it does provide great arguments for change. The most interesting part of the book, for me, was looking at examples of lessons that promote sensible mathematics. He shared one teacher’s story of a classroom exploring the speed at which toy cars go. The students discovered that under the conditions they were testing, the car speed was much slower than the advertised speed. They used proportions and experiments to come up with data and sent it to the company that made the cars. The company suggested they look at different situations to test in. I can only imagine the excitement the students had when they heard back from the company, and to do more math testing. This is the type of mathematics that I want to teach, mathematics that is real world, fun, and as the title says, sensible.