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Topic: 'At Right Angles' - a journal from India
Replies: 14   Last Post: Jan 8, 2013 12:50 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: 'At Right Angles' - a journal from India
Posted: Jan 6, 2013 9:56 PM
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Haim posted Jan 7, 2013 4:08 AM (GSC's remarks interspersed):
> GS Chandy Posted: Jan 5, 2013 10:32 PM

> >In particular, I am happy to observe that they seem
> to
> >have carried a fair amount of 'non-traditional'
> stuff,
> >such as "Teaching fractions through paper folding".
> To say that teaching fractions with folding paper
> per is old hat is to be unkind to old hats. One has
> only to google something like "teaching fractions
> paper folding" to get 470,000 hits, including this
> perfectly lovely video uploaded in 2007,
> "Fractions origami" gives a further 580,000 google
> gle hits (some overlap, no doubt). The first hit,
> interestingly, is from the IIT. Not the Indian
> Institute of Technology, but the Illinois Institute
> of Technology. It is a twenty-five year old lesson
> plan,

Excellent! Thank you, Haim, for bringing all of that to notice.

So evidently the 'math pedagogy of yore' did actually and actively recognize that 'non-traditional learning activities' (like 'paper folding' for instance) could well play a part helping math learners over the hurdles in learning math? (My claim is that it was not realized just how VERY significant a part such activities could play).

In any case, it could give us a pretty useful 'element': "Use 'non-traditional activities' to help students get over their 'fear and loathing' of math".

That is just one 'element' in a huge bundle of things that 'math pedagogy' needs to do in order to "design effective 'teaching + learning systems' ".

As Haim has brought to light, 'paper-folding' seems to be an 'element' that *math pedagogy* had happened to recognize (quite some time ago)!

There are likely to be many other such elements - which stakeholders in each area, at each level, would recognize (if ever they were actually were to use effective means [such as OPMS] to recognize and record their own good ideas on issues).

Statements of a couple of underlying issues are (as would be entirely evident to anyone whose mind is not hermetically sealed against the ingress of new ideas):

- -- "To reduce, very significantly, the proportion of students who come out of school 'loathing and fearing' math".
(Currently, the proportion is unacceptably high [IMHO]).

- -- "To try and get to a stage in social intercourse where 'not being at least adequately proficient at math' is NOT acceptable in our social systems"
(It is today, unfortunately, entirely acceptable to 'boast' "I was terrible at math". [President Obama seems to have done it lately!].

(Well, I guess we should be thankful that we seem to have at least reached a 'preliminary' stage of social development where it is now NOT AT ALL acceptable to 'boast': "I am illiterate". Even in a 'backward' country like India, this is no longer an acceptable boast).
> Having been around so long, one must suppose that
> hat paper folding has made as much of an impact on
> math pedagogy as it is ever going to make.

Perhaps you may be (partially) right. 'Paper folding' evidently HAD been recognized, for quite some time, as being a useful 'non-traditional stimulus' to help people get over that 'fear and loathing' of math.

But it is MUCH more likely (given your history at this forum) that the greater part of your claim is not correct at all.

My claim is that educators in general have NOT *effectively* looked at it ('paper-folding' and other such non-traditional activities) as part of a whole number of things to do that could help students get over that 'fear and loathing of math'.

In fact, I will claim that it is entirely DEFINITE and DEFINITIVE that you are not correct at all (in regard to most of your claim). This is as DEFINITE as the fact that you have, for all these years, been putting forth an entirely bogus 'panacea' to all the ills of the US educational system. (Your panacea? "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!")
> Alternatively, if much more pedagogical mileage
> e could be obtained from paper folding (or other
> "non-traditional" methods) one simply must ask:
> where have the ed schools ayatollahs been?

I don't know where they have been: you are probably the best qualified here to enlighten us on this matter, as the term "ed school ayatollahs" belongs entirely (and only) to you.

My stand has been (and continues to be) is that the 'educational systems' - whether of the USA or in India - simply have to change VERY significantly indeed. Further, that any such needed change would come about only if the stakeholders in the respective education systems would get together effectively to redesign their failing systems.

HOW to redesign a failing system? The tools described in the attachments to my post at could help. (Of course, you - along with Robert Hansen - will claim that it is all just "list-making" - but anyone who even glances at this documentation will know how much value we should give to your claim: MUCH less than zero as a matter of fact, for it is a claim that, through shameless falsehood, tries to denigrate something that would prove most useful).

I don't know, either, where YOU have been - except in your state of foolish denial, as for example in putting forth these utterly false statements that "OPMS is just about 'list-making' and nothing else - and it is therefore trivial" (words to that effect).

Someone genuinely interested in actually improving US education, in practice, on the ground, would have at least tried to learn something about a different way of approaching the issue of improving it.

That is, my understanding of your role in US education is that it has indeed been FAR more damaging than the role(s) of those "ed. school ayatollahs" of yours.
> , what are ed school professors so gosh-darned busy
> with that they seem never to get around to issues of
> pedagogy?

I don't know what they have been so "gosh-darned busy" with.

What have YOU been so gosh-darned busy with all these years? Ah yes, you have been searching all the known universe(s) to buttress your arguments to "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" (!!!)
> My own view on this, as on every other pedagogical
> cal issue, is that better pedagogy is better for
> better students, and it generally leaves poor
> students where they have always been. That is, good
> pedagogy will help students, who would have learned
> the subject anyway, learn it better and faster.
> IMHO, this is an unambiguous good but, as is
> s immediately apparent, it violates The Prime
> Directive. And that, dear friends, is the reason we
> hear no more about it.

But we DO keep hearing the ridiculous "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" How many members of that 'Education Mafia' have thus far been put in jail by reason of your command?
> >...
> >I do wonder whether (on looking through what has

> been
> >done thus far in "At Right Angles") Haim would
> classify
> >the promoters of the magazine as members of an
> >Indian 'Education Mafia'???

> GS, unless you answer this question for yourself,
> lf, you will have to keep on wondering. Since I know
> exactly nothing of the political structure of Indian
> education, any answer I offer would be the rankest
> speculation.
> Haim
> No representation without taxation.

'Indian education' is in a woeful state in the main - despite a whole lot of very useful efforts by individuals who are working - against severe odds - to create better schools. (No one else that I know has been working to create a 'better system')

As to the 'political structure of Indian education', it is far from being such that effective educational systems will soon be the norm in India. Currently, there are a few pretty good educational institutions. However, the understanding of 'system' is practically non-existent.

I'm happy you recognize that any answer you might have provided in regard to my question about the promoters of the magazine "At Right Angles" would have been only "the rankest speculation". For all such mercies showered upon us, we are thankful, Lord.

I claim that your 'universal answer' to the ills of the US public school education system (namely, "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!") is nothing but a most crass attempt at 'rabble-rousing' - and it is doomed to have ZERO effect on US education, as it fully deserves to have. (Though your panacea is entirely crass, it does seem to have attracted some followers at this forum at least. Too bad for US education, for it will not benefit the education system at all).

("Still Shoveling Away!")

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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