> > Kirby, > > Your criticism is on point. I note, however, that you make your criticism in response to me. >
Not to worry ol' sparring partner buddy. I pick on you cuz you're obviously one of the lightning rods around here. You've risen to the level of "blog character" which I can't say for everyone, so you oughta feel honored, e.g.:
> Not long ago, John Threlkeld, in his only contribution to Math-Teach, made the same criticism about this forum, in the thread "Health care rationing, American-style" again in response to me. >
I haven't delved into that one as much. There's a big part of me that wants to stay out of domestic politics, even though I live in that same so-called America (Amer Rican rhymes with Puerto Rican, Amerish being some language other than English, per poet Gene Fowler (author of 'Waking the Poet')).
I'm paying a huge premium for a huge deductible, think I should be allowed to shop overseas for better plans, with the local system (e.g. Providence) getting reimbursed from say Sweden or Russia (if that's where I buy my care).
> I am sure it has happened several other times, although I will not bother to sift through the archives, when a correspondent complained about an off-topic thread in response to one of my memos. >
I was more making the sociological point that vast numbers are scuttling under the rocks of climate debate, a relatively comfortable scientific-sounding debate, a refuge from harder talks, more difficult walks, such as what about math teaching.
> Should I infer anything from this pattern? Some political point being made, perhaps? Nah! It's probably just a coincidence. You see, **I** NEVER initiate an off-topic thread. Furthermore, I do not understand why the moderator allows these blatantly off-topic, and blatantly political, threads. >
In the web archive, I'm seen replying to a top-most post with your name on it.
Climate models are not outside of math, one could argue, nor talk about high premiums. It's all math-related, math being all-pervasive. Coaching the opposing team, I'd suggest they point this out: there's simply no getting away from math, no matter which way you turn, so best to love it and even learn it a little (pretending there's an "it" - -- the plural "maths" is likely better).
> However, once one of these discussions is allowed, it is hard not to respond. You see, I do not want people whose political persuasions run counter to, or different from, that of the transgressors, to feel unwelcome in this forum. By responding to these unwelcome (certainly unwelcome by me) topics, I hope to make it evident that the political constituency of this forum is eclectic and catholic, and that everyone---everyone who wants to discuss math education---should feel safe in this cybernetic place. >
Back to my earlier point that the global warming debate certainly feels a lot safer to a lot of people than what's on the other political channels. This isn't nuclear submarines off the coast, some immanent invasion, some holocaust. And yet all of these are current realities, somewhere. That politicians from all around the world are willing two converge for like two whole weeks on this topic is proof positive that we've found some political soup to their liking. Yakking about the climate is going to be like chatting about the weather: pervasive and for all future time (however long that ends up being for little humans and their many tribes).
> As for people who come with a political ax to grind, well, if we make it easy for them to grind their axes, it would only encourage them. I do not want to make it easy for them. >
Ax grinding tends to be easier than using said ax effectively, either as a tool or weapon. Sometimes one wishes an interlocutor had ground the ax more, as no work gets done in the field when the ax blade is not sharp, and/or the fire is unlit.
Math-teach seems to be a safe place to experiment with positions, and to abandon them sometimes. It's OK to make mistakes. Making mistakes, admitting them, applying a correction, is a great way to advance one's credibility in the eyes of one's peers.
It's a complete myth and fabrication that the Catholic Pope is infallible and we've had more than one pontiff apologize and/or express regret and remorse for past sins of the Church. Humans are simply fallible, even the most mathematically minded of same.
I've started using this word "andragogy" (not my invention) to distance myself from the "peda", not that I don't enjoy teaching children (I do) but I do think adults remain an important and relevant set of players on Spaceship Earth and deserve some attention as well. The techniques one brings to teaching other adults may differ, somewhat drastically at times, from those one brings to teaching minors.
So I guess I'd be curious to know if you think we have no more tricks to learn when it comes to the effective instruction and education of adults.