Numeric illiteracy of Canadians


Date:           12 Oct 13

By:               Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.

For:              Editors, Macleans

Re:               “Adding up … “ Oct 21 edition

Filename:     Macleans re numeracy Oct 13 (Lexar)


Dear Editors:


It’s no surprise that Canadians lack numeracy.  Most are victims of the discredited “constructivist” model of teaching, to which our educators cling despite its having been proven to be ineffective.


I once got an explanation of “constructivism” from a teacher of it from Queens University Education Faculty.  Finally, I asked, “But at the end of the day. don’t you need to graduate a literate, numerate student?”   In a tone of voice that would have chilled an iceberg, the reply was, “Why?”


Later, asked to chair an Education improvement task force,  I studied the Ontario math curricula.  It became apparent that no student, taught entirely by this method, could become proficient in high school math, much less be prepared to enter one of the very technical University science courses such as engineering or business statistics upon which our modern civilization depends.  Students who do become proficient can thank dedicated teachers who teach in spite of, not with, the Ontario curricula.


One indicator of the depth of this problem is that one cannot get an Ontario educator group to discuss, or even use the word, “results”.  The reader is invited to try.


So relax, Canadians (except for Albertans, wonder how they get their world-beating results?),  get used to being increasingly below international averages in math; because, with the above attitude and Constructivist teaching, it’s inevitable.




Frank Gue.


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