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Topic: Mathematician
Replies: 28   Last Post: Oct 15, 2010 8:47 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Mathematician
Posted: Oct 7, 2010 2:41 AM
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Michael Dougherty posted Oct 6, 2010 9:15 PM:
> > If only Wayne Bishop would occasionally take his
> own
> > advice to others and would search through Google,
> > he would easily find a biographical sketch about
> > Elisabeth Stage and what she may have taught at
> > the graduate level:
> >


> > ch.html
> Oh, I think Wayne has a good gripe here.

> > Quote
> > > (Dr Stage), a mathematician by training, thinks:
> The biography says nothing about being a
> "mathematician" at all.
> "Dr. Stage holds an Ed.D. in Science Education and an
> M.Ed., both from Harvard University, and an A.B. in
> Chemistry from Smith College."
> We do have to jealously protect the title
> "mathematician." Judging just from that biography,
> she was someone interested in Chemistry/Education who
> found herself in a position where she "directed the
> Mathematics Professional Development Institutes under
> the Office of the President of the University of
> California." As someone who was told how to teach
> math by an Ed.D. in charge of Academic Affairs at a
> previous job, I can tell you I've seen how such folks
> can manipulate into such positions where they do not
> have the credentials to be much more than grant
> writing assistants, yet this lady is called a
> "mathematician by training"? What am I missing?
> - --Mike D.

I take your point - but I still would like to claim that Dr Bishop's "peeve" was rather petty. Perhaps it was the writers of that blurb who put up the claim that "Dr Stage is a "mathematician by training", possibly incorrectly. My underlying idea is always the following:

In order to move forward in promoting math and thereby to enable people appreciate the power and beauty of math, we do need the support of all who are, as claimed about Dr Stage:
> .... guided by a vision of
> high quality mathematics and science education for
> all students.

This is very valuable (of course, if genuine), and I would not wish to lose sight of that vision.

It should have been easy enough for Dr Bishop to have discovered a little more about Dr Stage, and whether her vision is based on a real willingness alongside some ability to help actually promote math. If that exists genuinely, a great deal could perhaps be achieved.

Currently, a great many students are (I claim) being needlessly turned off math by 'ineffective systems'. These ineffective systems include:

- -- lack of understanding why students get turned off math;
- -- huge confusions about the right way to present math to students and about the right way to elicit their interest;
- -- and so on and so forth.

We've seen plenty of discussion right here at this forum on these points - without ever coming to a workable conclusion on any of them.

I claim that a great deal of progress can easily be made on such issues simply by enabling the crucial faculty that I call the learner's "question-asking frame of mind". I have previously posted a sizable amount of documentation on simple tools and techniques through which this faculty can be stimulated.

(Much of this must have been before you started contributing to this forum, I believe. Right now I am unable to put up that documentation as I don't now have ready access to it: some general documentation about the processes as a whole - not specifically related to 'math-learning issues' - is available at:

Right at this forum I have posted several models relating to math learning issues being debated here - but I have no way of readily locating those messages: perhaps the Moderator might on request be able to point to some of my messages where such documentation is available?)

With reference to your valid grouse about:
> As someone who was told how to teach
> math by an Ed.D. in charge of Academic Affairs at a
> previous job, I can tell you I've seen how such folks
> can manipulate into such positions where they do not
> have the credentials ...

I note that the tools I recommend would *definitely* prevent such abuse of position - if abuse it was and that the Ed.D. was not actually raising a valid "learning issue". I must observe that many excellent mathematicians do not teach effectively - some understanding about the processes involved in "understanding" & "learning" is required for effective teaching [of any subject]. Mathematicians may not be adequately aware of the learning difficulties that many math learners confront as they themselves may never have faced such difficulties. (That said, I fully accept that those who wish to teach math MUST know *enough* math to teach it).

I observe that Louis Talman has rightly pointed out (though implicitly) that Dr Bishop's gripe seems to have been put up merely for the sake of putting up a gripe, nothing more. I would believe that the real issue lies in the possibility of realizing the vision as expressed for Dr Stage: "high quality mathematics and science education for all students". In the words of that wonderful song: "Accentuate the positive" - but to do that always through properly understanding all the real difficulties we confront.


Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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