The Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Why do so many of us hate math?
Replies: 30   Last Post: Jun 24, 2014 9:05 AM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Posted: Jun 19, 2014 9:53 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Robert Hansen (RH) posted Jun 18, 2014 6:18 PM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9490818):
>
> On Jun 17, 2014, at 2:15 AM, GS Chandy
> <chandy.sag@gmail.com> wrote:
>

> > One member of group 'B', Robert Hansen (RH) to be
> > specific, wants GSC to divulge various information
> > that GSC believes is confidential. RH therefore
> > claims that GSC is a phoney and that he, RH, is
> > taking up a 'Mission' to expose GSC as a fraud, as he
> > has already exposed (he claims) others like Dan Meyer
> > (1), Richard Strausz (2) and doubtless others.
> >
> > I believe that (1) and (2) may in general belong to
> > group 'A', though I've not specifically asked them
> > about their position on this issue.
> > believe
> > That's about "where it's at", at the moment , I
> > think. Perhaps Robert Hansen might like to clarify if
> > I'm in error in some respect?

>
> Close enough, but I?ll simplify where I am coming
> from...
>
> 1. I don?t call group A frauds because they want
> everyone to be good at math. Who wouldn?t?
>

There's your first distortion, right there!

I for one have not claimed that "everyone could be 'good at math'"! (And I don't believe others in group 'A' have done that either).

I DO claim that there's really no reason for most people 'fearing and/or loathing math' by the time they graduate from school, which is the situation today. It is entirely possible (I claim) for most of those now fearing and loathing math to arrive at a fair and correct understanding of math, its role in their education; and some adequate skills to apply math as needed in real life.

However, this will require a pretty sizable 'redesign' of the system from very early stages up (see below). The redesign would have to involve 'the mindsets of the stakeholders in the educational system' - but it is clear that what this means is not understood at all. One underlying issue is:

HOW to bring about a change in mindsets? Well, let's wait and see over the next year or two.

As to being 'good at math', there is apparently a significant difference between what you believe qualifies someone to be regarded as being 'good at math' and what I think qualifies someone for that class. I do NOT believe one has to be 'good at math' to understand and with adequate effectiveness learn how to apply school-level math to real world issues confronted. Of course, the 'system for imparting math knowledge' will have to change quite considerably for this to happen.
>
> 2. I don?t call group A frauds when they think they
> have a way to do this. I may just think they don?t.
>
> 3. I call group A frauds when they claim they are
> doing this with no evidence that they are doing this.
>

Well, this is something we shall have to see. As explained earlier, I'm not about to 'jump to perform at the command of Robert Hansen'. We shall soon surely see who is the fraud amongst us.
>
> At this point?
>
> 1. I believe that in order to get anywhere with math
> it must be intrinsically fun.
>

While I fully understand and accept your term "intrinsically fun", we surely do need to go much deeper into the issue than such simplistic and superficial analysis as you've done here.

Those that I would consider to be 'good at math' would surely find math to be "intrinsically fun". But this would be a very small proportion of all the learners who need to learn math in the system and who must come up to certain acceptable levels of competence.

Most of the learners in the system can, I claim, DEFINITELY learn to handle school-level math quite adequately to meet real-world needs.

That is to say, a great many more than those who're 'good at math' can surely be helped to arrive at a reasonable understanding of math as an important 'element' in their education. Most people can definitely arrive at an adequate ability to use 'high school math' in their daily lives - IF (and that's a very big "if") they've not been turned off math by the incompetent educational systems around them. As noted earlier, the damage has in general already been done LONG before they ever reach 'algebra'!

The traditional notion that "reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic" are crucial elements involved in 'education to prepare for life in the modern world' is entirely correct (IMHO): the real issue here is that the 'tradional means' of teaching math (and the traditionalists practicing those traditional means of teaching) have been found to be inadequate to the burden of teaching it.

That conjoined set of "reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic", call it 'r+r+r', is a very powerful 'golden triad' (known from ages past though not as that technical term 'triad' - long before any 'systems' concepts became formally known through 'general systems theory [GST] and its further developments). [In fact, the concepts of 'monads', 'dyads' and 'triads' are not yet widely known even amongst 'systems thinkers'].

As observed at several earlier posts of mine, 'teaching' CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be considered as a 'thing-in-itself' (as is what occurs, by and large, in the greatest part alas, within traditional education). Of course, there are always excellent to outstanding individual teachers (in all subjects) who're often able to transcend the limitations of the existing systems. We should certainly laud such teachers - but we do need to realise that those great teachers alone do not make for an *effective system*.

In reality, teaching is just one element in the 'silver dyad' of 'learning + teaching' (l+t). There's a systemic reason for the secondary position occupied in the dyad by the 't' element. This could be readily explained if we had the resources here to show some structural graphics in a natural way. It's possible to do this explanation in 'pure prose', but that would be an extremely tiresome exercise for the 'explainer' and it would be even more tiresome for the person(s) to whom the explanation is being addressed - and it would therefore be a total waste of time to even attempt to do it here. But I do believe it may be well worth pointing out that there are worlds beyond, awaiting exploration. (There's another important dyad that I've often referred to: 'prose + structural graphics' [p+sg], which you prefer to think of as 'ps&g' or something of the sort).

To revert, here's a point worth making even in pure prose:

In any adequate education system, **young people with the intellectual capabilities of a young Obama should NEVER feel they are 'poor at math'**! There's a huge class of **people between those actually 'good at math'** and **those who are actually 'poor at math'**.

Something is seriously wrong in the system when &&that kind of thing&& happens and is considered 'normal'! (&&This sort of thing: an exceptionally intelligent boy [such as Obama must have been] being regarded as 'poor at math'!!!)

Anyway, it is the needs of those in the great majority that the educational system needs first and foremost to address (but, alas, does so very ineffectively indeed). Those who are actually 'good at math' may well go into 'advanced math programs'; society needs to make some special efforts for those who're actually 'poor at math'. The 'system' unfortunately fails all three classes of learners!

(Those who are 'good at math' can generally manage to find their their way more or less on their own, through understanding teachers, books, etc. Things have been changing quite significantly since sizable pieces of needed know-how have become available on the Internet - these 'subsidiary educational systems' have just started to develop via 'MOOC' and the like, but it's early days yet).
>
> 2. I don?t believe that math is intrinsically fun to
> most people.
>

Such was not the claim made - though, surely, an excellent teacher could often find ways to remove (or at least VERY significantly diminish) the 'fear and loathing of math' that seems to be the 'norm': a few people (teachers, others) always do find ways to circumvent the various incompetencies of the systems around them. (Anyway, see below).
>
> 3. I believe (2) is a natural result of culture, fate
> and free will.
>

I really don't understand what the connections are that you're seeking to draw between (2) and (3). I suspect you don't, either.
>
> When we say *math* I think we all mean math after
> primary school. Algebra and forward.
>

That is precisely where you have already lost the plot. The seeds of that harvest of 'fear and loathing for math' are in fact (most probably) sowed MUCH earlier than "algebra and forward".

Those seeds are sowed by the attitudes of people in the 'system' (which includes the school as a whole and the teachers in them; parents who have already partaken of that 'fear and loathing'; older students who already 'fear and loathe' math; many other such elements).

It is by no means as trivial and simple a matter as you are seeking to paint it: "algebra and forward"!!!
>
> I think we all
> agree that most people can be taught arithmetic
> through fractions. Of course, that is only true if we
> teach arithmetic in its natural, simple, visceral and
> coherent form. Here are two apples and here is one
> apple, now we have three apples, and so on. Trying to
> teach arithmetic using higher order thinking is not
> teaching it in its natural, simple, visceral and
> coherent form. But that is what they are doing
> because they want to open the door to algebra and for
> some crazy reason, they are willing to close the door
> to arithmetic to do it, even though everyone has a
> need for arithmetic and hardly anyone has a need for
> algebra. And they fail at opening the door to algebra
> anyways.
>

What they've "closed the door" on is not just 'arithmetic and algebra' - they have already closed the door (to a great extent) on helping learners to 'think rationally', and that "closing of the door" has most probably occurred long before they encountered 'algebra'.
>
> Why is there so much fraud? Because people in general
> are not as reasonable as they are religious. As crazy
> as it sounds, I believe this is actually an
> evolutionary advantage. For the most part, the world
> is a very harsh place that defies even the best of
> our science and reasoning. Without faith we would
> have nothing to face that chaos. Scam artists take
> advantage of this. If you think you have a better way
> to teach kids math then the only next logical step is
> to prove it with a positive final result, more kids
> doing well in math. If you think that the sky would
> be green then the next step is to walk outside and
> behold a green sky. But fraudulent educationalists
> never get to that point because they were never
> interested in more kids doing well in math in the
> first place. In fact, they aren?t even interested in
> education, unless you believe that scam artists who
> sell bridges are actually interested in bridges. They
> are interested in selling.
>
> I instead sought out the methods in actual use that
> result in kids being good at math. Not all of them,
> just at least some. When you insist that there is
> actual evidence that the kids are doing well in math
> the only methods with any results are the traditional
> methods, or I should say methods that are at least
> 75% traditional. I have met many people on this
> journey that say otherwise.
>
> They say they know the secret to making kids good at
> math.
>
> I say ?Great! I would love to meet these kids.? Who
> doesn?t love meeting kids good at math.
>
> They reply ?Well, I don?t have any kids to show you.?
> or ?We can?t release that kind of information.?
>
> I say ?That?s ok, just show me their work and the
> exams they take."
>
> They say ?Exams are bad and we don?t believe in
> them.?
>
> I say ?Well, how do you know that they are doing well
> in math.?
>
> They say ?Because traditional methods are based on
> rote memorization.?
>
> Obviously, at this point, I realize that I am being
> scammed. There are no kids doing well at math, just a
> scam artist trying to make a sale.
>
> Years ago this would have went on for some time. Now
> it takes me less than a minute to spot the crook.
> Kind of amazing what all that seeking folded into.
> d:
> Bob Hansen
>

Instead of my getting into a 'shouting match' with you, let me focus on doing what's needed to make the case more thoroughly than putting up letters. That work has started. The OPMS website should be up and running before the end of this year, and it will contain a lot more than certificates from people who've successfully used OPMS for their own purposes.

I emphasise that I DON'T have a whole lot of kids whose performance in math has improved significantly by the use of OPMS. There was one freshman college student who managed to overcome his 'fear an loathing of math' by the simple expedient of developing an 'OPMS Action Plan' for his Mission: "To understand thoroughly all topics of my math syllabus, and THEREBY to improve my results very significantly in my exams, tests and quizzes". Some re-creations of his models as well as his own testimonial would be up there. There will also be the experiences of the members of the software design team who developed the prototype OPMS software. And a few others.

GSC
("Still Shoveling! Not PUSHING!! Not GOADING!!!")

------- End of Forwarded Message


Message was edited by: GS Chandy


Message was edited by: GS Chandy


Date Subject Author
6/14/14
Read Why do so many of us hate math?
Joe Niederberger
6/15/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/15/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Bishop, Wayne
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
GS Chandy
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Gary Tupper
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Joe Niederberger
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/17/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Joe Niederberger
6/16/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Joe Niederberger
6/18/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
GS Chandy
6/18/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/18/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
GS Chandy
6/18/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/18/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Louis Talman
6/18/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Joe Niederberger
6/19/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/19/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
GS Chandy
6/21/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Ray
6/22/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/22/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Ray
6/23/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
kirby urner
6/24/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen
6/24/14
Read Re: Why do so many of us hate math?
Robert Hansen

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.