Haim posted Oct 7, 2010 11:40 AM (GSC's comments interspersed): > Jonathan Groves Posted: Oct 5, 2010 6:49 PM > > >Whatever all the problems are with adult innumeracy, > >using the current widely available junk commercial > >textbooks and the teaching that is similar to the > >junk > >in these books do not help solve the problem. Here > >are some reasons why (this is not an exhaustive list): > > No need to go on. I agree most modern textbooks > oks are awful. But you simply must remember how we > got to this point. It was observed that mathy books > did not work well for many students. Precisely in > the attempt to reach more students, the mathiness was > gradually leached out of the texts and out of the > curriculum so that, today, there is very little math > in math education. > > Now, perhaps you think that struggling students > cannot learn math when no math is there. Not > only are you quite right about that, but even mathy > students will not learn much math when there is no > math. So this trend towards leaching the math out of > mathematics is a dead loss all around. Thank you, > Education Mafia. > > By all means, put the math back into the math > ath texts. Then, you will do a better job teaching > the better students. You will certainly fail, > through no fault of yours, to teach the students who > lack either the aptitude or the interest in > mathematics. And you will have come around full > circle. > Suggestion: Create effective and usable categories of 'math knowledge and interests'. Then provide texts (and courses) that teach: 1) Math for 'mathy' students; 2) Math for 'non-mathy' students; 3) Math for students who may have been turned off math by reason of incompetent teaching/books/systems-as-a-whole at earlier levels. (Not all the students at No.3 are included in the category at No.2. A great many potentially 'mathy' students often drop into the Category 3 because of terrible systems that turn them off math. I observe that not all of the terrible systems that afflict us are the creations of what you refer to as the 'Education Mafia'; some undoubtedly may be, but definitely NOT all!) > > Perhaps you despair of being able to solve the > the problem of teaching math to adults. I think it > is out of your hands. > Not true (IMHO). > >Partly, the students come to > you far too late. And partly, it is a faux problem. > Many of these adult students do not learn math > h because they do not want to. > Not true (IMHO) - many of these adult students were once children that fell into Category 3 noted above, because of the terrible systems that enforced dormancy upon their 'question-asking faculty'(QAF). A brief outline, indirect explanation of what this QAF may mean is provided at the attachment herewith. > >Maybe we should just leave them alone. > Well, maybe we should also provide those that *want-to-learn* math the facilities to do that (if they so desire). Are you against that? (For what other purpose is our society for, but to enable every citizen to be the best he or she can be?) > > Finally, you write, > > >Colleges and universities need an effective way to > >identify students with these difficulties and then > >have them take appropriate coursework on reading skills > >before progressing to regular college or remedial > >coursework in other subjects. > Are you sure that students who cannot read belong > ong in college? You may want to rethink that. > > Haim > We're buying shrimp, guys. > The systems that pushed a great many people (potentially mathy people) into Category 3 that I've listed above may well have also contributed to destroying or forcing into dormancy their 'reading skills'. There could be many such. (No, I cannot provide references to research on how many, etc - it is such an inference from observation over many years of just how godawful are the systems we have developed in society - from governance to education to discussion of issues of public interest to effective audit of the monies we spend for societal purposes, etc, etc, etc).
It should be well worth (IMHO) the small effort needed to 'recalibrate our non-functioning systems'. No great cost or effort is involved - only the willingness to ask ourselves and each other the needed questions and then to learn how to put the responses we get into practice.
As always, when I see your 'valedictory' that concludes your posts these days, I'd strongly recommend that you should ingest as fishfood for the brain some of the shrimp that you've been so assiduously purchasing (along with President Barack Obama). I observe that Mr Obama may have ingested at least some of that shrimp he's purchased, to judge by some of the commonsense that he articulates from time to time. It's another matter that he's also been quite unsuccessful in putting many of those good ideas into practice.