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Saskatoon creating program based on Math Learning Centre

by Kelly Foss

Dr. Sherry Mantyka is better known as “the Math Lady.”

After years of testing and tracking math learners, identifying why they struggle and formulating strategies to help them overcome their “math phobia,” Dr. Mantyka, director of the Math Learning Centre (MLC), has outlined the methods she and her colleagues have found most effective in her book, The Math Plague: How to Survive School Mathematics.

“The current curriculum, in its design, is fundamentally flawed,” said Dr. Mantyka. “At other institutions, foundation math programs tend to be short and intensive. When programs run for a few weeks, even a few months, students do not have time to hone their skills so that they become automatic. Here the most diligent students can do the program in two semesters but most need three.”

Since the release of this book, Dr. Mantyka has spoken with a multitude of teachers, parents and public individuals who share her concern about the future of mathematics education. That attention has not been limited to this province. Recently, Dr. Mantyka was invited and delivered a lecture to teachers in the K-12 system in Saskatchewan.

Following the lecture, two Saskatoon-based teachers expressed their interest in developing a remediation program for students in Grade 9 in that province based on the remedial offered by the MLC. The teachers will be travelling to St. John’s in mid-May to participate in a week-long workshop at the MLC. The intent of this workshop is to provide teachers with the tools to facilitate incorporating the program using pedagogies observed at the MLC.

“To some, it may seem a far way to travel – Saskatchewan to Newfoundland - to adopt a remedial mathematics program,” said Dr. Mantyka. “But what these teachers are looking for is only offered at one place and that would be at Memorial University’s Mathematics Learning Centre.”

For more information please contact the Mathematics Learning Centre (MLC) by email at mlc@mun.ca or kpenton@mun.ca, or by phone at (709) 737-3308.
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