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Topic: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Replies: 43   Last Post: Jul 25, 2007 9:08 AM

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Michael Paul Goldenberg

Posts: 7,041
From: Ann Arbor, MI
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Posted: Jul 21, 2007 9:04 PM
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On Jul 21, 2007, at 8:41 PM, James Wysocki wrote:

> Haim wrote:
>> This is only to be expected, as I have asserted a few
>> times, because there really are no important unresolved
>> pedagogical issues in teaching mathematics, especially
>> at the K-12 level.

>
> And that statement alone is perhaps the crux of the problem in the
> forum. There are some here that believe the above statement to be
> patently false. And then there are those who thoroughly believe
> that statement to be true (as Haim clearly does). There can be no
> true discussion when one (or both) side(s) feel they have the
> Truth. There will be a lot of shouting and name-calling, as we have
> seen, but little real conversation.
>
> I, for one, ask only for a place to converse with people searching
> for better ways to teach content where the participants are open to
> new ideas. In this forum it often feels more like I am trying to
> convert someone from their religion.


I think where the problem comes in is when people who WANT to talk
about teaching are quickly attacked for not using Saxon or Singapore
Math and hence being "racists," or for not decrying every textbook
written and published after some point in the early 1960s, etc. If
there were clearly political threads for those who wanted to argue
politics and people who wanted to be on those threads refrained from
making the pedagogical ones into minefields, things would probably go
reasonably well. However, as I recall, some people who were
ostensibly on here for non-political discussion couldn't stand the
fact that anyone was arguing intensely about other things on "their"
list. Frankly, that's not reasonable. Political threads, like
religious threads, like sports threads (The Red Sox SUCK!. No, they
don't!) and like many other things that aren't about information but
about heated opinions, are going to get intense. The well-known
admonition about heat and staying out of the kitchen applies.

However, if the political threads were obviously political and the
pedagogical ones obviously pedagogical, and those who feel obliged to
make "everything" political agreed to refrain from arguing politics
and trying to bait and inflame people who happen to want to talk
about teaching issues, progressive or otherwise, and actually DID so
refrain, then on my view you'd have a reasonable list. Anyone who
couldn't stomach the political threads would have no grounds to
complain about them.

You can't realistically mandate open-mindedness, of course. But you
can make some things out of bounds. Accusations of racism that have
nothing to ground them other than a negative opinion about a
philosophy of education simply serve no positive purpose, though they
most certainly are inflammatory. Similarly, coming onto a thread
about issues of classroom teaching simply to argue that there are no
open questions about mathematical pedagogy is not going to move
forward the discourse that folks who would generally participate on
such threads are looking for.

It's interesting and vaguely amusing to note that one group here is
writing as if they've been rule-abiding citizens from the beginning
and that if only the other guy(s) were blocked, all would be well.
Yet, as recently as two weeks ago, when I voluntarily withdrew for
about 5 days, we saw some of the same baiting, inflammatory posts
from these people, epithets directed at me even though I wasn't
posting or responding to posts, etc.,

And when there have been past efforts to restore some decorum here,
there has been one person in particular who systematically refused to
rein himself in. That none of his allies on this list would criticize
what he was doing probably didn't help matters much.

I think that Jim is right in suggesting that if someone is dedicated
to blocking free and collegial conversation about teaching math (math
pedagogy, pedagogical content knowledge, etc.) things are going to go
badly. And any serious look at how to make the list become more civil
has to consider if those people are willing to allow that sort of
conversation to go on without sabotage.


>
> Ideally, in my mind, this forum would only be open to people open
> to changing their mind on occasion (not that they have to - just be
> open to the possibility). That is about as possible as the Pope
> converting to Islam tomorrow, so I am fresh out of ideas. I am
> curious to see what develops.
>
> Jim
>
>



Date Subject Author
7/21/07
Read Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Stephen Weimar
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Richard Strausz
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Stephen Weimar
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Greg Goodknight
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Bishop, Wayne
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Kirby Urner
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
r!chard tchen
7/24/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Joe Obrycki
7/24/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Greg Goodknight
7/25/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Bonnie
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Domenico Rosa
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Greg Goodknight
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Anna Roys
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Kirby Urner
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Haim
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Anna Roys
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Greg Goodknight
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Jim Wysocki
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Greg Goodknight
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Richard Strausz
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Greg Goodknight
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Bishop, Wayne
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Haim
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Bishop, Wayne
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Bishop, Wayne
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Richard Strausz
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Haim
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Kirby Urner
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Anna Roys
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Kirby Urner
7/21/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
June Lester
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Kirby Urner
7/22/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Haim
7/23/07
Read Re: Math Forum and the math-teach discussion
Michael Paul Goldenberg

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