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Topic: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Replies: 27   Last Post: Mar 23, 2011 7:29 PM

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Robert Lewis

Posts: 52
Registered: 7/17/08
Re: [math-learn] Re: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Posted: Mar 17, 2011 11:36 AM
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I completely agree with Jonathan Groves. As a professor of mathematics at the university level, this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy.

I am reminded of these two essays, which may be well known to everyone here. (I wrote the second one.)

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200910/backpage.cfm

http://www.fordham.edu/academics/programs_at_fordham_/mathematics_departme/what_math/index.asp

Dr. Robert H. Lewis
Fordham University


--- On Thu, 3/17/11, Jonathan Groves <jonny77889@yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Jonathan Groves <jonny77889@yahoo.com>
> Subject: [math-learn] Re: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
> To: math-learn@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 11:18 AM
> Julie,
>
> What a nightmare you have described here!  That
> teacher is an excellent example
> of one who will surely turn students off from
> mathematics.  And she promotes
> bad attitudes about mathematics by penalizing preciseness
> and stressing
> memorization and following her directions for approaching
> problems over
> understanding and creativity.  She seems to fail to
> recognize that any method
> is correct as long as it can be shown to be mathematically
> valid (though this
> logic alone does not tell us which of two or more methods
> is "best").
> She also seems to fail to see that mathematics is supposed
> to be about
> finding patterns and classifying mathematical objects
> (among other things)
> because she wants the students to see all these area
> formulas as having no
> relationship with each other. 
>
> I applaud your son for using basic formulas and logic for
> finding the
> area of polygons instead of appealing to a memorized
> formula (though the
> latter is not wrong per se nor necessarily bad in itself
> but does become
> a bad sign when the student has little or no clue as to
> where the formula
> comes from or when the student prefers memorization over
> understanding
> and logic).  I see far too many students in my college
> classes who would
> rather memorize and use formulas than use logic.  I
> would tell your son
> that he thinks a lot more like a mathematician ought to
> think than his
> teacher does and that the "math" his teacher promotes is
> phony and helps
> no one to learn a darn thing.     
>
> I do find this story to be ironic in several ways:
>
> 1.  This teacher is very precise on how students show
> work.  She goes way too
> far in this direction.  Most teachers make the mistake
> of taking the other
> extreme: not requiring students to show any work at
> all.  In fact, those
> teachers often use just multiple-choice exams or other
> exams in which they
> look at just the "final" answers to grade them.  I
> recognize many of my
> own students who most likely have had teachers like that
> because they gripe
> that I ask them to show some of their work in discussions
> or other assignments.
> Others gripe that they got the "correct answer" but had
> lost points for
> an error or significant gap in their reasoning or a
> computational error (but
> for some odd reason still managed to get the "correct
> answer"): "I got the right
> answer, didn't I?  So how come I didn't get full
> credit?"   
>
> 2.  Though you didn't explictly say so, I suspect that
> this teacher is
> more attentive to grammar and spelling and other aspects of
> English usage
> than most math teachers are.  In fact, most math
> teachers seem to ignore
> English usage entirely or almost entirely so that students
> end up thinking
> that grammar and spelling and English usage plays no role
> in a math class.
> And I believe that is one reason why my students are sloppy
> with such
> matters in discussions--in fact, "sloppy" is putting it
> lightly; their
> English is bad enough that many of my college students'
> posts look like
> their third grade kids wrote them!  And I swear that
> students' spelling
> is getting worse over time because I have noticed
> significantly more
> spelling errors in recent terms than I did early last year
> and in
> previous years. 
>
> Some students are so bad with writing that they struggle to
> write even one
> coherent sentence.  However, at least most of them can
> be understood (except
> in many cases of severe vagueness), but the grammar and
> spelling is still
> bad enough that they pass themselves off as kids instead of
> as adults. 
> I now recall seeing a message the other night from a
> student that I could
> not answer because I could not figure out what she said;
> not only was she
> vague, but her writing was quite incoherent.  I do
> wonder how many of them
> manage to get jobs because I'm sure that if they wrote
> their resumes
> and job applications using the same garbage they use in
> class, their
> materials would be trashed immediately because employers
> would question
> if a child and not an adult had written them. 
>
> In short, it is a shame that many math teachers teach math
> in ways they
> had learned it and cannot seem to recognize any other ways
> to teach
> math.  According to them, the way they were taught to
> do that problem
> is the only right way to do it. 
>
>
>
>
> Jonathan Groves       
>    
>
>
>
> --- In math-learn@yahoogroups.co






Date Subject Author
3/16/11
Read [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Dennis
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Robert Hansen
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Dennis
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
ArPeEs@aol.com
3/16/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
John Clement
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Zeev Wurman
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Dennis
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Robert Hansen
3/16/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
John Clement
3/16/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
kathleen Offenholley
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Julie in San Diego
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Teri
3/17/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
kathleen Offenholley
3/17/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Ralph A. Raimi
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
John Clement
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Julie in San Diego
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Julie in San Diego
3/17/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Robert Hansen
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Julie in San Diego
3/17/11
Read [math-learn] Re: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Jonathan Groves
3/17/11
Read Re: [math-learn] Re: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Robert Lewis
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] Re: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Julie in San Diego
3/17/11
Read Re: [math-learn] What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?
Dennis
3/17/11
Read [math-learn] Rounding [Was: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?]
John Clement
3/17/11
Read [math-learn] Re: Rounding [Was: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?]
Jonathan Groves
3/17/11
Read RE: [math-learn] Re: Rounding [Was: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?]
John Clement
3/23/11
Read [math-learn] Re: Rounding [Was: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?]
Jonathan Groves
3/23/11
Read RE: [math-learn] Re: Rounding [Was: What Is Your Opinion Of This Algebra 2 Project?]
John Clement

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