On Nov 24, 2012, at 11:46 PM, Louis Talman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> The *anecdotal* evidence you gave is research? Or even "REsearch"? Even as emended?
No, it is anecdotal, but factual. Stigler's is made up fiction. Like saying that teachers teach rote memorization. I found very little evidence that they do anything of the kind. In fact, teachers do far too much in the name of discouraging rote memorization. They have become so fearful of "rote memorization" that they tend to go overboard in its discouragement and damage the "whole" of the subject. Even though many students fail to catch on to the reasoning behind mathematics, and attempt to fall back on rote memorization, those students that do catch on require as much memorization as reasoning. Mathematics isn't a subject about nothing, it is about quite a bit, and the mental baggage that makes up "quite a bit" requires a significant amount of memorization, but not the rote form, like remembering a phone number, or the Gettysburg Address.
The reason that people like Stigler make these false statements, and that many teachers believe them, is that they appeal to common sense and support their hypotheses. Although, I question how many teachers would even listen to Stigler. I mean, if I am correct (stemming from my own personal observations) and it is just very uncommon for a teacher to predominately pick on the brightest students in their class, then how can those very same teachers read, with any belief, past the opening lines of Stigler's paper? I can see how something like math anxiety can fool a teacher because how does one determine if it was the difficulty with the math that caused the anxiety, or if it was the anxiety that caused the difficulty with the math?
Haim singles out Marion Brady (for good reason) but Marion Brady is the most reasonable of all reformists. You see, Marion Brady has followed all of these claims (like those of Stigler) to their only possible logical conclusion. No one is good at math.