First, my quick endorsement for public television:
Some of the best programming is seen on public television. Whether it’s a documentary or children’s educational show (i.e. Reading Rainbow), they usually do a pretty good job. I’ve volunteered at the call center collecting donations and I think it’s definitely a worthy cause.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming:
So I watched It All Adds Up: WSU Math Corps. The Math Corps at Wayne State is a program for Detroit middle school and high school students. It runs through the summer and during some weekends during the fall and winter.
Math Corps is free to students and provides an opportunity for them to learn in a fun, controlled environment. The professors shown in the PBS special were engaging and seemed to genuinely love their work. As a product of Detroit Public Schools, I can truly say that the teachers that made the biggest difference in my life were the ones that really enjoyed coming to work and helping children.
While I was watching the show, I kept noticing the kids doing what appeared to be disruptive movements while others were speaking. Not surprisingly, I was wrong. Throughout the day, the student use different hand gestures to show different things. Rolling their arms shows the speaker their support. Shaking their hands (if I’m not mistaken) is used to show their enthusiasm.
The best part of the entire documentary was the part on the closing ceremony. Students stood up among their peers and explained how Math Corps had helped them, not just in classroom but in life. Many cried, and all were completely sincere in their comments.
Programs like Math Corps are necessary, especially in Detroit, where children left to entertain themselves during the summer are lured into the wrong behaviors and led down the wrong paths.