> I agree that there are many cultural/societal/traditional differences > between the US and Russia or Japan.
What is the meaning of the symbol "/"? Is it "or" or is it "and"? I always have trouble reading it. I also have some trouble pronouncing it, except in words like "3/4" where it can be pronounced "over". Words like "cultural/societal/traditional" generally mean something shorter, e.g. "cultural". Why not leave it at that?
But when it comes to pronunciation, the following is even harder:
> there are many things s/he can do to be more effective > working within the tradtion s/he finds herself/himself. S/he cannot make > her/his students get up to greet her/him at the beginning of the lesson > or make her/his students respect her/him. However, if the focus is to > bring students into this 'working condition' maybe there are things > American teachers can do within the culture/tradition that works > effectively. I would be very much interested in some details of what > Andre does.
Maybe that's why Professors Toom and those he seems to be arguing with have such difficulty with each other: the prose. If I could know the difference between "culture" and "culture/tradition" I might follow the argument myself. As it is (not to mention the s/he) I tend to tune out when I see these things. And yet, my attention span was always highly praised by my teachers when I was a child, even though it wasn't called "attention span" in those days, but "effort."
I believe you will find I.M. Gelfand's little books on algebra and geometry for high school age children contain more mathematics and less such learned language than we have been reading here recently. I recommend them. I suspect the Japanese books, including those addressed to the teachers, exhibit similar virtues.