
Re: Failing Linear Algebra:
Posted:
Apr 30, 2004 12:48 PM


In article <c98b1ba0.0404271348.505ed6bd@posting.google.com>, Anonymous writes: >mmanch01@mydeja.com (maky m.) wrote in message news:<188f56bf.0404231216.2fa757ac@posting.google.com>... >> Anonymous wrote in message news:<c98b1ba0.0404221444.4623535e@posting.google.com>...
>> > I don't get all the terms, concepts, and jargon. >> >> do you read your book? > >Sometimes. I try to. Sometimes I understand it and I can continue to >read.
That's exactly the mistake that I made when I was in college, as a hopeful math major. I'd read something, say to myself, "I understand that", and move on. That's why, after three semesters, I was looking for a new major. If there's one thing that I learned in college, it's that you can't read a math testbook as if it were _1, 2, 3, Infinity_ of _The Education of T. C. Mits_.
Now, some xx years later, I'm resuming the study of math. What I do now is read half a page, or maybe a page. Then, I stop, go back, and challenge every line that I've read.
"An <X> is a <Y> with <a>, <b>, and <c>": Okay, do I remember what a <Y> is? Can I think of a <Y> that doesn't have <b>? What's so special about <c>?
Then, I encounter a proof. I read it through once. Then, I go right back to the beginning, and ask myself what the proof is about. Sometimes, I need to slow down and figure out what the real, deeper meaning of the hypothesis is. Then, for each step of the proof, I force myself to actually state how and why it follows from the previous step. This sometimes means that I need to look at the justification given in my book, and say "but why is *that* true?" This leads to going back and reviewing a previous result.
As some famous dead Greek guy said, "There is no royal road to geometry." This stuff takes work.
 Michael F. Stemper #include <Standard_Disclaimer> The name of the story is "A Sound of Thunder". It was written by Ray Bradbury. You're welcome.

