> Andrei: > > What is such a big deal? Do you seriously think you analogy of > cheerleaders is comparable to the discussion of fractals, no matter how > informal it may be, in mathematics classroom?
I am sure that in many cases discussion of fractals or something `advanced' like that in middle schools actually is a disguise for the teacher's inability to teach students to solve elementary, but substantial problems.
> You know, I would be much more concerned if students thought arithmetic > was "mathematics."
I do not agree with you, and this is important. Arithmetics IS mathematics, or, more exactly, can be. There are very good arithmetical problems and every human being in this century MUST go through an experience of SOLVING (rather than just DISCUSSING) them. Too many of my (college) students have not had enough of this experience and this seems to be the main root of their further difficulties. Andrei