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Re: math education
Posted:
Dec 14, 1993 5:11 PM


There are two things wrong with the letter on Gail Young which has just been posted. He did nnot say what the interpretation said he said. He said there was nothing wrong with someone who loved mathematics but did not have a particular talent for research teaching mathematics. This is not saying that those who teach are not talented enough to do research. Some will opt for teaching more rather than the research they could have done because that is what they enjoy most. Gail is a wise senior statesman in the mathematics community. Years ago, when we happened to be sitting next to each other on the way back from a mathematics meeting, I mentioned I had been quoted in the local newspaper as claiming I could not read a 9th grade mathematics book which had just been adopted by our school system. I said I was probably the only mathematician who had been quoted in the newspaper as saying he was not able to read a ninth grade book. After telling him the name of the authors, he said he had also been quoted as not being able to read this book. Here is part of the review of 8th grade at the start of ninth grade. A rational number is a pair (a,b). Two rational numbers are added by (a,b)+(c,d)=(a+c,b+d). Can any of you make sense of this? It is correct for their definition, so the problem is to figure out what they are talking about. Dick Askey



