
Re: Failing Linear Algebra:
Posted:
Apr 28, 2004 9:24 AM


Anonymous wrote in message news:<20040427182710.15274.00000430@mbm18.aol.com>... > David:
> OK, there's my answer, I guess. I've always had courses where professors > emphasized that we don't have to memorize definitions and terms word for word, > whether it's a foreign language course, a social studies course, an economics > course, whatever. It seems like definitions are usually just things that you > have to get the basic jist of. It's sort of unfair that math is different and > no one warns us about it. But, like I said, I won't have the opportunity to > try linear algebra your way because if I fail, it's my last math course ever. > I think there may still be hope for me....
I think this is an important point. Maths is different from other academic diciplines in a number of ways, but this is often not stressed enough, and further it is difficult to get people to understand the differences.
In particular mathematics requires precision, you must use the precise definition and statements of theorems. If you do not, the results may be startlingly different.
As an aside, I have found that many undergraduates do think that maths is different to other subjects in the following way. They think that because one is making use of symbols, numbers et cetera, one need not write sentences. Thus they give a list of equations as a proof with no indication about how they beleive these equations are linked. It can ofter take many months, repeated explinations and many zeros for coursework before changing this concept. Grrr...

