By Alice Brookston
This year, the Santa Rosa district decided to switch from the long-standing curriculums for math classes, changing classes like “Algebra 1” and “Geometry” to “integrated math classes.” For the incoming students this year, most took the new curricular, known as Integrated Math. Integrated Math is a course with four classes, composed of a combination of all fields of mathematics. The classes are meant to be a more standard way of teaching students basic high school math, but the reactions from the vast majority of students have not been positive.
After talking to many other students taking the class and parents with students in the class, I’ve found that most people are not happy with this new style of teaching. The class, from a learning standpoint, is more of an independent study, where students are given mini-lessons by their teacher, but end up mostly learning the material from a textbook on their own.
Many students I’ve talked to admit that they find learning the material to be much harder in this class and that they don’t feel that are really grasping the concepts being taught. The truth is, most students find it easier to be taught subjects from others, and not from a textbook. Many students have even had to find themselves tutors, watch videos online, and some students have even stopped trying to understand what they are learning.
On a personal note, I find the classes to be much harder than what I’ve experienced in the past. I’ve found that most math classes are taught in a lecture style, where the teacher will go up in front of the class and discuss the new formulas and concepts being currently taught in the class. In the Integrated math classes, most students end up having to learn the material from small mini-lectures or from the textbook alone.
Most teachers aren’t even in charge of how their own classes are run too. Almost all of the teachers running the Integrated classes don’t actually prepare the work they give to their students or even the tests they assign. Almost every teacher is handed the same work each week that they give to their students. Although it seems like a good idea to keep all students taking the course at the same pace, even missing just one class can overload students with work to make up.
Sadly though, there is no real solution to this dilemma with these new math classes. Because of the style of the classes, students most likely will not be able to switch to other, more standard math classes. The Integrated classes are a combination of all forms of math, so switching into a math class for a singular field of math such as Geometry or Algebra 2, is just simply not an option. Although for students taking the course currently must finish the class, hopefully as the year progresses, the style of teaching will become something students are more accustomed to.