
Re: Math Forum and the mathteach discussion
Posted:
Jul 22, 2007 1:18 AM


Well, given the chance, the pack circles.
I think it most interesting that an anonymous "contributor" to this list has the temerity to a) singlehandedly: dismiss all issues of K12 mathematics pedagogy as resolved. This will come as a huge surprise to nearly everyone who actually teaches mathematics at the K12 level; and b) suggest that all the problems on this list are traceable to one person. While I tend to agree with him that Wayne Bishop is the main force for ill on this list, I think the poster himself deserves some of the "credit," and they are not alone in their efforts to ensure that there is no conversation among colleagues about mathematics teaching issues on this list. Obviously, the claim he has made about there being nothing to discuss about how to teach mathematics makes clear that he considers the purpose of this list to be something quite different from teaching math. Interesting, and of course it is his right to be wrong. But the list began as nctml with the express focus of discussing the thennew 1989 and 1991 NCTM Standards volumes. At some point, the name of the list changed to mathteach. Not to mathpolitics or mathreform or mathantireform or mathtexts, etc. Clearly, someone at the math forum thought that the TEACHING of mathematics was a relevant and hardly resolved topic for a list to focus upon.
I will quote from a private message I received earlier today from a mathematician, Jerry Uhl on the issue we're discussing:
"At one time, the AMS sponsored CalcReform list featured mathematics and good ideas from a diversity of view points.
Then the Northridge Nazis flooded the list with their dirty politics. Soon the participants (such as I) lost interest in the list) and the list stagnated. Now they have done the same thing to Math Forum. What a sham."
Clearly, opinions as to who is to blame for the problems here aren't quite as clear as our friendly poster below and his friends would have us believe.
On Jul 21, 2007, at 5:12 PM, Haim wrote:
> Steve Posted: Jul 21, 2007 10:00 AM >> Other thoughts? > > Steve, > > There are other internet fora which focus on the pedagogical > elements of teaching mathematics ("should you teach the LDA from > lefttoright or from righttoleft"). It is my strong impression > these fora are moribund, or very nearly so. They certainly operate > at a much lower level of activity, which suggests their own members > are not terribly interested in what is going on. 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 K12 level. > > Rather, math education suffers because of larger issues in the > political environment of teaching, i.e., issues beyond the > classroom. And that is where the great strength of MATHTEACH has > been. MATHTEACH has been a forum for exploring these larger > environmental issues. > > We all know what this forum's central problem is, and there is > no use in averting our eyes from it. A very small number of MATH > TEACH participants, one person especially, has made it his business > to poison the waters of MATHTEACH by personally defaming everyone > else, in the vilest possible terms. He does it volubly and > relentlessly and almost invariably he succeeds in shutting down all > debate. To say nothing of scaring off old and potential > participants of this forum. > > Solve him and you have solved your problem. > > Haim > Je me souviens > >

