Robert Hansen (RH) posted Jun 16, 2014 10:33 PM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9488114) - GSC's remarks interspersed: > > On Jun 16, 2014, at 2:31 AM, GS Chandy > <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > > That is no doubt why most US students 'fear and > >loathe mathematics' by the time they graduate from > >high school! > > I doubt that the reason students fear and loathe math > has anything to do with those of us here who find > teaching math coherent and easy. > I have no doubt at all that YOU find your "teaching of math to be coherent and easy". But that's not the issue at all.
The issue is to make the "learning of math coherent and understandable" TO THE LEARNER. When the majority of students that graduate from schools 'fear and loathe' math, there is definitely something wrong with the way the knowledge of math is being imparted to the learner. > > Other than the fact > that many will dislike math (or any particular > subject) anyways as a matter of taste and free will, > the rest of them, the part that can be fixed, is much > more an issue of culture than pedagogy. > 'Pedagogy' happens to be a part of culture. If the existing and surrounding 'culture' is one that believes the statement "I'm bad at math" to be something to be 'proud' about (or natural), then (IMHO) it is time to look a little more deeply into the culture (including the pedagogical attitudes and methods at play in that culture).
No question at all that "taste and free will" play a major role in determining whether an individual 'takes to math' or not. No question at all that some individuals may never like or enjoy math. But that simply cannot constitute (in my opinion; I have no empirical evidence for this claim) the 'root causes' for the "majority of students graduating school 'fearing and loathing' math". > > > During all your no doubt very profound > >investigations, you have alas failed to realise that > >human beings are blessed (or cursed) with the power > >of (human) thinking and rationality, which is a > >characteristic that has been scientifically proven to > >be pretty dynamic, fluid, able to change itself > >according to the circumstance. > > I (actually most of us here) know that in general, > people are not dynamic, fluid or able to change. > Again a distortion of what was claimed! Please do yourself the favour of actually understanding what precisely was stated and what precisely was claimed.
To make it clear (if possible):
A: You had stated: "I think the reason is that we are dealing with a pretty static design (humans) that hasn?t changed in a very long time".
B: I had claimed: "you have alas failed to realise that human beings are blessed (or cursed) with the power of (human) thinking and rationality, which is a characteristic that has been scientifically proven to be pretty dynamic, fluid, able to change itself according to the circumstance".
There's a difference. Do you see the difference? > > In fact, isn?t that the very reason they created this > *science* you speak of in the first place? You > understand the notion I just put forth, right? That > if people were actually naturally dynamic and fluid, > we wouldn?t need *science* to make the point. It > would be common knowledge. > People not being dynamic and fluid is, in the main, an outcome of the 'systems' within which they're embedded.
People do change their mindsets according to the systems within which they live and work and play. > >This is related to my > point earlier about how politics ruined education and > the science of education. It favors theories that are > not supported by reality. > We're suggesting that political issues also can be handled scientifically - not yet, but such times may well be coming. Our future politics will have to be handled murh more *scientifically* than they are today, or our (human civilisation's) future is very much in doubt.
Human beings are not machines is one lesson that we need to learn.
Neither are the societies, civilisations, systems that they create.
Without realising it at the time he said it, Winston Churchill actually said something potentially very profound. In a quite famous speech to the British House of Commons, he said:
"First we shape our buildings. Then our buildings shape us" (Words to that effect).
If one substitutes the word "systems" for "buildings", we have something that could help our thinking processes for a long, long time. Assuming, of course, that we learn to recognise the difference between 'machines' and 'systems'.