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Topic: Don't Teach Math, Coach It
Replies: 5   Last Post: Aug 7, 2014 10:18 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Don't Teach Math, Coach It
Posted: Aug 6, 2014 1:21 PM
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The article is worth reading. But:
> From The New York Times,Thursday, July 24, 2014. See
> ath-coach-it.html?_r=1
> Don't Teach Math, Coach It
> By Jordan Ellenberg

> ... Yes, Wiener helped shape his son,
> Norbert, into a child
> prodigy who got a Ph.D. at Harvard at 18, and who
> later became a
> groundbreaking mathematician.
> "He would begin the discussion in an easy,
> conversational tone. This lasted exactly until
> I made the first mathematical mistake. Then the
> gentle and loving father was replaced by the avenger of
> the blood.
> ... Father was raging, I was weeping, and my mother did
> her best to defend me, although hers was a losing
> battle."


If anything, Mr Eilenberg should know and he should have told us that the world is most fortunate indeed that the treatment Norbert Wiener got from his father did not turn him forever against math and science.

Actually, Norbert Wiener already had in him all the intellectual qualities to be Norbert Wiener, and it's a good thing his father didn't through his foolishness turn young Norbert into a 'math hater'.

The danger in that story is that there may be some parents (fathers) who may come to believe that the best way to get their children to become geniuses is to treat them the way Leo Weiner treated Norbert!

We already have the Robert Hansens of our world feeling that they must PUSH and GOAD their children to learn math!

But yes, 'coaching' is probably a most useful metaphor in the USA.

In India, we'd need something else. At this point of our history, the 'coaching' metaphor probably won't work very well here.


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