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Topic: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics (repost)
Replies: 29   Last Post: Nov 19, 1995 4:46 PM

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Michael Keyton

Posts: 138
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Posted: Nov 7, 1995 12:15 PM
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This is a great saga of the exploits that great teachers do little
"teaching". My guess is that poor Mr. Hoffman probably asked a lot of
questions, questions that stimulated students to ask similar questions of
themselves in anticipating his questions, which made them into scholars.

One should be fortunate enough to have a teacher who is this incompetent as
often as possible.

I was fortunate to have studied with Hubert Butts, who not only never
answered a question, but rarely, if ever, completed a sentence. His 17
Ph.D.'s will also confirm that every really good problem that came along
his way for research purposes was given to a student. His attitude seemed
to be that if a student solved the problem then there were two recipients
of the rewards.

Michael Keyton
St. Mark's School of Texas
Dallas

On 7 Nov 1995, Tom Davis wrote:

> In article <pow-0611951644240001@olmo.swarthmore.edu>, pow@forum.swarthmore.edu (Problem of the Week) writes:
> |> I have found it to be the case that the best way to test my understanding
> |> of something is to discuss it, or even better try teaching it to somebody
> |> else. It is this _discussion_ of mathematics that makes me want to be a
> |> teacher as opposed to a mathematician who only gets to "do" math. What
> |> are other ways in which we can test whether or not a student has learned
> |> something?
>
> I think teaching is by far the best way to learn something. In high
> school in my Advanced-placement math class, our teacher, Mr. Hoffman,
> never understood anything, and he was so pathetic that we students took
> turns teaching him and the rest of the class calculus. At the end of
> the year, the 14 kids in the class got 11 scores of "5", one of "4", and
> two of "2" on the advanced-placement exam -- fabulous results.
>
> When I came back to visit my high school the next year, I talked to a
> student in Mr. Hoffman's calculus class, and was horrified to find that
> Mr. Hoffman hadn't learned anything from our class, and that years'
> class was also having to teach him every detail about calculus.
>
> Mr. Hoffman also coached the tennis team, and years later, I met someone
> who had played on his team. It turns out poor Mr. Hoffman didn't know
> anything about tennis, either, and the stronger players had had to teach
> him about the sport from scratch. The amazing thing is that nearly
> every year, my high school won the state tennis championship!
>
> Mr. Hoffman was clearly the best teacher I ever had in my life, but the
> sad thing is that even knowing exactly how he did it, I can't imagine
> myself emulating him. He was so good at feigning ignorance and getting
> pity that none of us figured him out until years later.
>
> When I taught math in college, I always volunteered to teach classes
> that I didn't know much about. I probably did twice as much "homework"
> as the students, terrified because every day I imagine so many questions
> they could ask that I couldn't answer, and I studied like crazy so I'd
> know the answers. Looking back on it, those were the classes where my
> students learned the most, too -- having just thought very hard about
> the subject, it was very clear to me what parts were difficult and
> needed lots of explanation, and what parts were "obvious".
>






Date Subject Author
11/3/95
Read Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics (repost)
K. Ann Renninger
11/6/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Problem of the Week
11/6/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Tom Davis
11/7/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Michael Keyton
11/7/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Brian Hutchings
11/9/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Ken Wood
11/9/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Andrea Hall
11/9/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Katie Laird
11/9/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Katie Laird
11/10/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Steve Means
11/10/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Steve Means
11/10/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Andrea Hall
11/10/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Jim LaCasse
11/10/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Steve Means
11/11/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Andrea Hall
11/11/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Steve Means
11/11/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
John Burnette
11/12/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Lou Talman
11/13/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Tarin Bross
11/13/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Katie Laird
11/13/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathemaatics
Steve Means
11/13/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Kristina Lasher
11/14/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
David Weksler
11/14/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Jane Ehrenfeld
11/15/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Andrea Hall
11/16/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert,...
Robin J Healey
11/16/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert,...
Pat Ballew
11/17/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Johnny Hamilton
11/17/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Steve Means
11/19/95
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathematics
Tarin Bross

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