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Topic: Chapter 4--Everybody Counts
Replies: 8   Last Post: Mar 26, 1995 11:12 PM

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Lawrence C. Lacher

Posts: 3
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Chapter 4--Everybody Counts
Posted: Mar 23, 1995 9:56 AM
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> 1. What happens to children's natural curiosity and enthusiasm for
> mathematics as they become socialized by school and society? Why?

This is an interesting question because at first glance it seems to
imply that all children lose their natural curiosity and enthusiasm for
mathematics as they go through school. But really it doesn't ask that,
does it? I would have to say then in response to this question that some
children do in fact lose their enthusiasm for mathematics, while other
students maintain (and increase) theirs. As for why, I feel one must
consider such issues as natural inclination--Are some people more
interested in literature or history or biology?

> 2. Comment on the following statement: "Teachers teach only what is
> in the textbook and students learn only what will be on the test."

I suppose some teachers are more textbook oriented than others. I
imagine the better you know your subject, the less dependent you are on
the textbook (But either way, hopefully you are able to use a textbook
you are fond of). As for students learning only what will be on the test,
perhaps this is natural enough and it is up to the teacher to provide
comprehensive exams.

> 3. What should be the principal goal of elementary school mathematics?
> What should be the principal goal of secondary school mathematics?

The principle goal---mmm, let's see---I imagine the principle goal of
elementary school mathematics is building the basic skills so that the
student is able to study mathematics on the secondary level. And on the
secondary level, I see the principal goal as--well I see two goals that
are equally important, so I'll have to list them both. One is making
sure the students are actually able to do the mathematics, and the other
is fostering a sense of mathemtics as a pure science (and not something
that you necessarily have to apply to something concrete in order to give
it meaning--and in this way, hopefully cut down on the number of students
who say "When am I actually going to use this?")

And while I have your attention, here's something I've been thinking
about lately and if anybody has any thoughts on the matter, I'd like to
hear them. It seems here in New York State, in an attempt to integrate
the mathematics courses, we renamed Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II/Trig
as Sequential Math Course I, Course II, and Course III respectively. Now
I believe in the merits of integrating the courses, but I find the new
titles fairly sterile. Isn't it more exciting (and meaningful) to take a
course called Geometry than Sequential Math Course II?

Thanks for your time,

Lawrence Lacher

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