Lou Talman posted Jul 3, 2014 1:09 AM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9509159) - GSC's remarks follow: > > On Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:15:52 -0600, Joe Niederberger > > <email@example.com> wrote: > > > (Joe N.): So you had a "teacher" who had no business > > teaching that subject. > > (Lou Talman): That is, unfortunately, all too often the > case. This is one of the few > things upon which Wayne and I agree: K-12 math > teachers who know enough > of the mathematics they are allegedly teaching are > hard to find. Most kids find the other kind, and > that's a large piece of the answer to the > question in the title of this thread. > Well, Professor Bishop has most rightly identified the 'schools of education' (which train the teachers) as something that demands urgent attention in particular in regard to their 'training of math teachers'. I have no doubt whatsoever that the *training of math teachers* does need very considerable improvement.
Alas, Professor Bishop seems subsequently to have identifed EXACTLY THE WRONG THING to say to those schools of education that's likely to bring about needed change. He has been shouting here (and for all I know, at a great many other 'educational forums' as well):
"BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION!". (This was, I understand, under the influence of one Reid Lyon [Reading Research Expert]).
I wish to suggest that there MUST be better ways available to draw the attention of those schools of education and to make them aware of the need for change. He could, for instance, get together with other concerned people in higher math education:
- -- first to suggest to the schools of education that they do need to change;
- -- then to insist that change be brought about; and
- -- then to approach people outside the schools of education, and so on and so forth.
I have casually glanced at:
- -- Professor Bishop's "FOUR YEARS OF CALIFORNIA MATHEMATICS PROGRESS" that you had kindly aided him to publish;
and also at:
- -- quite a few of his posts here at Math-teach.
I do strongly believe that there are a great many other things still to do/try to get done before being driven to the conclusion that the only way out of the problem is to blow up those schools of education. > > A significant part of the blame rests with those of > us in higher education > who are charged with preparing those teachers: There > is immense pressure > on us to give decent grades to students who haven't > really earned those grades. > Doubtless.
Well, I'm pretty certain that it should not be impossible for those in higher education who are charged with preparing those teachers (and who are being thus pressured to hand out undeserved grades, etc) to resist these invidious pressures being exerted on them.
It does so happen, when using 'conventional means', that one often doesn't see a great many things that should be readily apparent.
This is apparently a widespread phenomenon of human psychology that is apparently all-too-common (I believe). I don't know if there is a specific technical name for it, so let me describe it for chess where I am able to describe myself as a 'VERY enthusiastic, but not masterful amateur':
Practically every amateur chess player (like myself) finds that, when he or she is the player in question, then he/she is naturally ('canonically'?) able to perform at one level specific of skill, say level 'L'.
When that player is watching players at significantly higher levels of skill perform, he (or she) is almost always able to find a great many errors and weaknesses in the performances of those higher-rated players, and even to find remarkable winning ways in most situations - FOR AS LONG AS HE/SHE IS NOT HIM-/HERSELF ACTUALLY PLAYING (but only watching)! This could happen even when the players observed are even at, say, 'Level 2L or 3L'!
I believe this phenomenon may not be uncommon in several areas of intellectual endeavour, not just chess.
However, I have not found it generally to occur in the 'field of writing': for instance, when I'm reading, say, some works by John Updike, or Vladimir Nabokov, or Donald Barthelme - or for that matter quite a few of the ['American'] English poets that Robert Hansen has often been advising me to study - I am usually pretty sure that I can never achieve their 'Elo levels at writing', so to speak. In general, such is the case with the great [English] English writers and poets whom I encounter as well. A good bit of the above is surmise, some of it quite 'solid' though little or no empirical studies may be available. However, I'm reasonably sure that empirical studies would bear out most of the surmise(s).