Math isn’t hard, it’s a language | Randy Palisoc | TEDxManhattanBeach

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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Is 26% proficiency in math acceptable to you? That’s the question teacher and Synergy Academies Founder Dr. Randy Palisoc asks the TEDxManhattanBeach audience. With only 26% of U.S. twelfth graders proficient in mathematics, Randy shares his solution: teach math as a language. Putting words back into math lessons enables even the youngest school-age minds to grasp complex concepts, such as fractions, that are traditionally thought of as abstract and difficult to understand. In his stunningly simple and effective approach, math no longer creates problems for kids but solves them.

Randy Palisoc is a passionate educator, known for making math easy. A founder of the five-time national award winning Synergy Academies, Randy is proud to identify Synergy as an “in spite of” school. In spite of the fact that its students were disadvantaged and in spite of the fact that it did not have its own facility and had to pack up its classrooms every single week, his school was the first and only elementary school in South Los Angeles to ever win the National Blue Ribbon Award, and was named the #1 Urban Elementary School in America in 2013.

Seeking a broader impact, Randy left Synergy this year to start Ironbox Education. One of the ways he believes we can dramatically improve America’s schools is by doing a better job teaching math to our students in a way that makes sense to them. Randy believes implementing a few changes in the way we approach math will give students the confidence and thinking skills to be more competitive in a global economy.

Favorite TED Talk: “My Invention That Made Peace With Lions”: Richard Turere

The “Game Changer” he most admires is Steve Jobs, because he had the ability to envision things we did not even know we needed or wanted.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


Kio Milenium says:


Rilo Robinson says:

I can't do it, I can't fuckin do it!!!!

Robert Richards says:

1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples is analogous to 1/3 + 1/3… that's all well and good. But what is 1 apple + 1 pencil? Or what's 1/3 + 1/4? You've still gotta learn how to convert apples to pencils.

Christine Kellogg says:

Excellent! As a language teacher, I agree with you 100% and believe when students approach math as a language, they will enjoy it more as they apply it to the real world. Thank you Dr. Palisoc.

Jack Trooper says:

My maths teacher used have a bloody cane, bought from the forceful donation by us students, then whatever we couldn't solve that cane would force it out of us…

abo aifah says:

Math is an art to me and I was very good in it
I got 96% in it in high school

abo aifah says:

It was my hobby
I am so sad to did not study it
I am a doctor and until now I blame my self
My advice
Be what you want not what community want from you

He Man says:

I'm in tears. I don't now anything

Obscurum et Turma says:

Math is so easy

caroline kowa says:

that was easy as we thought but hard to put it into practice….hope I had a teacher like him

Salsabil Hena says:

The wix ad in the beginning killed me. :/

bích ngọc nguyễn says:

Thanks! I have never seen math like this before.

kodyzombie says:

what about 4 third + 4 sixths. They would guess 8 thixs. See it doesn't make sense

{cookiemonster} Stu:Dio says:

Math is a language that I cant understand.

Lawrence Gist says:

Does geometry has language in it?

Lawrence Gist says:

So I don't have to take a language class other than math and writing?

teltri says:

Just because it is a language it doesn´t mean that it´s not hard. Chinese language, for example, is quite hard.

Jake Corona says:

Where can I get a "make math human again" hat?

Yamyam Oldbury says:

Yes it's a language. And the word is "Maths" you barbarians

NIKE_LIFE_55 says:

I can't do math I'm good in any other subject but math

Fester Blats says:

How does a 5 year old know what 7 + 2 is?

Kai says:

I don't get it.

"we have to see math as a human language, therefore I had a child memorize the multiplication table which saved them a lot of time from not counting on their fingers anymore"

I just don't see the connection? also, the quote from the curriculum on fractions was kinda unfair I think. I seriously doubt that the idea behind it is that a teacher should just read the quote word for word to students and expect them to know it instantly. that's not what teaching is. the quote is just a formal statement detailing what a student should know. the talk about apples isn't even applicable in that case, since 3/7 + 8/2 has different "units". it's no longer apples and apples.

I just have a really hard time figuring out exactly what the lecture was against and what the proposed solution was. what does "math as a human language" even mean? how does "apples + apples" give any sort of insight when it comes to realizing the implications of the fundamental theorem of homomorphisms or how to visualize an infinite-dimensional linear transformation or understanding the concept of adjoint functors and how they relate to monads and algebras over them?

Wayne Lai says:

Now imagine inventing a language, that's like graduate mathematics.

Accelerator Kumagawa says:

Exactly, so

1arctan<40 = O/A

It's as simple as apples plus apples

Jaden James says:

But think of it this way, 94 Apples divided by thirds. How many cars are in your smoothie? And hiw many will be in 1 day. The answer to this is 99 speed. But your welcome to correct me.

Sardar jaiveer singh sidhu says:

You will never be good at math, you just don't have the genes, get back to flipping burgers

Oswaldo Forkel says:

Of course this guy is Asian

Adrian Gil says:

I didn't know Chinese was a language

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