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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Readers' Survey 2007: What You Wish You Had Learned in High School

Edutopia readers weigh in on their favorites.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team

Math

Despite the groans of educators wearied by today's emphasis on math and verbal scores, the two topics that headed your wish lists were those very things. Math, it seems, is the least likely subject to have stuck with you through the years, and writing skills seem only to stick slightly more.

Sadly, a few disgruntled respondents seemed to suggest high school should have taught them not to return there; some variations of "career planning" turned up alongside the chilling "Don't be a teacher." But lest we fear too many of you regret your career choice, know that a cheerful handful maintained that high school did its job quite well: "I learned to have a continued passion for learning. I couldn't ask for anything more."

Our Take

Numinous Numbers

If high school experiences failed to impart memorable math skills for so many of you, we can't help but suspect that your teachers had something to do with it. (As one of you remarked, it would have been nice to learn "not to hate math.") But we're not about to play the blame game. Math must be one of the hardest subjects to make "fun." Although it can and is being done, many of us (read: editors) found math class insufferably dull or painfully difficult -- or even, dare we admit it, terrifying.

However, even as we write, the White House-commissioned National Mathematics Advisory Panel is investigating ways to identify and curb what has come to be known as math anxiety -- and we wish the group luck times ten! In the meantime, to all the hardworking educators and curriculum developers out there making math exciting, applicable, and accessible: bravo, well done, way to go, and a snappy salute. We ask those lucky enough to teach less daunting subjects, "Have you hugged a math teacher today?"

NEXT PAGE OF READERS' SURVEY: Most overrated buzzword or idea

2007 Readers' Survey Index

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