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Topic: Definition of Math (2nd Request)
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jul 14, 1995 6:07 PM

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Andre TOOM

Posts: 549
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Definition of Math (2nd Request)
Posted: Jul 14, 1995 6:07 PM
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On Fri, 14 Jul 1995, Scott Powell wrote:

> >Andrei said: I am a mathematician and a teacher of mathematics.

> Aren't we all, Andrei?(depending of course on your definition of mathematics.)

Yes, of course. Simply it seemed to me that some people at this list
doubted if I belonged here.

> >I believe that it is my job to teach my students
> >the ability whicht may be called `rigorous comprehention'.

> I am not sure what you mean by "rigorous comprehension". I thought our job
> was to get students to do, think about, talk about mathematics in whatever
> form it may come in.

I coined this phrase `rigorous comprehension' trying to make clear
what irritates me about the Standards. According to what I meant,
without it, there is no mathematics or teaching it.

> totally lost with this sort of method that Andrei is suggesting. Could
> anyone honestly say that you would teach a 12 year old "rigorous comprehension"?

You seem to think that `rigorous comprehension' is something like Drakula.
It is just what you have to do with any math problem to start solving it.

> >I need this ability every day when I read mathematical
> >books and articles. Without it I could not do research.
> >This ability means that when I see a book page covered
> >by typographical signs I am trying to build a mental
> >model of what these sign describe.

> Ahh, know we get to the reason. YOU need this to do your research. What
> about the students? Are they doing research? Do they really NEED this?

This question can be rephrased: do students really need mathematics ?
This is a very important question. We can discuss it.
The answer is not obvious.

> It is not how you learn mathematics but how your students learn that
> counts. Wouldn't you agree? Have you done any research that would
> inlighten you as to how students learn mathematics?

It depends on how you define `research'. I have taught a lot.
And thought about it. I believe that this is the only thing that matters.

> Maybe you should go back and look at the authors names a little more closely.
> To say they have no rigorous comprehension is quite a bold statement.

This argument is below you, Scott. Do you think that names really matter ?

> I will tell you cruelty. Cruelty is a college professor who has no common
> sense and insists on subjecting students to his own personal interests and
> thoughts that are so far over there heads they get absolutely nothing out
> of the subject or the class. And then you wonder why so many people are
> turned off by mathematics and avoid it like the plague in college. Pretty
> cruel, don't you think Andrei?

Thank you, Scott, for your feeling of humor.
We need it at this list very badly.
Best regards,
Andrei Toom

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