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Topic: Brightness Versus Intelligence. / Eastern Versus Western learning
Replies: 10   Last Post: Nov 26, 2012 11:53 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: [math-learn] Brightness Versus Intelligence. / Eastern Versus Western learning
Posted: Nov 23, 2012 1:28 AM
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Robert Hansen (RH) posted Nov 22, 2012 9:59 PM (GSC's remarks interspersed):
> There is a lot of anecdotal fluff in the article that
> is just plain wrong, and we see this far too much now
> days.

There's a fair bit of 'anecdotal fluff' in RH's response to the article - a couple of instances are pointed out below. I agree that we do have to grow beyond such 'anecdotal fluff' to arrive at an effective scientific understanding of any issue under consideration - but we do need to grow intellectually quite a bit before we can successfully accomplish that needed scientific understanding of complex issues such as 'teaching+learning'. [Much of the debate at Math-teach is evidence of this need of ours to grow intellectually].
> "Stigler knew that in American classrooms, it was
> usually the best kid in the class who was invited to
> the board."
> Wrong. In fact, as the best kid in the class, I
> seldom got asked to the board.

These are, evidently, RH's own bits of "anecdotal fluff". (By the way, I do not claim that RH is "wrong" in bringing such 'anecdotal fluff' to our attention - see below).

It is entirely possible that RH is correct in his claim that he was "the best kid in the class" ('anecdotally fluffy' though it is).

It is also entirely possible that, as claimed, he "seldom got asked to the board" ('anecdotally fluffy' though the claim is).

However, these possibilities do not raise his remarks from being anything more than "anecdotal fluff".

Even so, even such bits of "anecdotal fluff" could have value. Because it is from such "anecdotal fluff" that we may grow into a scientific awareness of the ground realities in complex problem situations (if that is what is desired).

What is required in order for us to thus grow is an effective means to put such "anecdotal fluff" together to create a scientific description of the reality. In my post at Math-teach dated Nov 22, 2012 8:42 PM (same thread title -, I've provided an attachment that describes practical tools and means that could help us put the 'anecdotal fluff" together to develop a scientific awareness of the ground reality of the 'teaching+learning' dyad.

[One has to be willing to do a small amount of learning along with a fair bit of 'unlearning' in order to use the tools described in that attachment - and RH has time and again demonstrated that he is not willing or able to do the needed learning and unlearning].
> We can rank this with all of the other anecdotal
> fables that alchemic-reformists profess, along with
> "students are taught to memorize" or "students are
> taught only rote procedure".
> Note: Alchemic-reformists are those that believe that
> mass success in education is attainable through a
> magical scholastic formula, irregardless of the
> students' interests, culture, ability or home
> situation.

See above.

Meanwhile, I shall go along with Jim Stigler's "anecdotal fluff" in preference to Robert Hansen's as containing the potential to take us to a scientific understanding of 'teaching+learning'.

(I've taken the liberty to snip the rest of RH's 'anecdotally fluffy' response to the article he has critiqued - assume that my response to all of it is just "see above").

("Still Shoveling Away!" - with due apologies to Barry Garelick for any tedium caused; and with the observation that it is the EASIEST thing in the world to avoid such tedium: simply refrain from opening any message purported to originate from GSC)

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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