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Topic: Re: Poor Dan (but much poorer Robert)
Replies: 6   Last Post: Dec 13, 2013 6:20 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Poor Dan (but much poorer Robert)
Posted: Dec 11, 2013 9:45 PM
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It does seem, as Lou Talman suggests, that Robert Hansen (RH) "... doesn't like Dan and he reflexively rejects
anything Dan says (even when Dan says something worthwhile)". [Thereby ensuring that we are generally unable to 'get' the real weaknesses that may be contained in Dan Meyer's suggestions on math teaching and how to rectify the current situation].

In the Dan Meyer piece that RH has objected to, the major point being made is (as I see it): "Place your bet on cultivating a student's capacity to puzzle and unpuzzle herself. Whether she ends up a poet or a software engineer (and who knows, really) she'll be well-served by that capacity as an adult and engaged in its pursuit as a child".

(All of which appears, to me, to be entirely sound - and there is absolutely nothing objectionable in that, to my mind).

I really wouldn't know whether the moment of inertia problem illustrating Dan Meyer's post:

- -- only serves to 'further disengage already disengaged students' (as Dan has suggested): I believe practicing teachers are the right people to judge - and Dan Meyer has brought to light some of their thoughts. Thus RH's argument against Dan appears to be specious and made up.

I also would not judge that Dan Meyer is only speaking to 'angst-ridden teachers' (as RH claims he is).

Some important issues that the referred NYT article suggests include the following:

- -- One of the biggest reasons for that lack of interest is that students have been turned off to the subjects as they move from kindergarten to high school

- -- Many are being taught by teachers who have no particular expertise in the subjects (following outdated curriculums and textbooks).

- -- (Students) become convinced they?re ?no good at math,? that math and science are only for nerds, and fall behind.

- -- For all the reform campaigns over the years, most schools continue to teach math and science in an off-putting way that appeals only to the most fervent students.

Nothing there to object to. Along with Joe Niederberger, I believe it was a pretty good article. Though:

I don't believe the article points to systematic and comprehensive means by which the 'broken educational system' can be effectively fixed.

RH's ONLY suggestion is that "people that like math, like math, or in this case, engineering math". (And, I'd guess, that "people that DON'T like math, DON'T like math" [??]).

Entirely forgetting the ONLY relevant issue:

How to get most students to understand the utility of math in their real day-to-day lives AND that they are indeed able to master the simple levels of school math - instead of the sorry spectacle we currently have of most students coming out of school 'fearing and loathing math'.


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