Date: Oct 14, 2005 3:43 PM
Author: Brian Harvey
Subject: Re: Other Foundations of Math secondary teachers?

Guess who <notreally.here@here.com> writes:

> If you learn to play the guitar or any

>other musical instrument, you are first taught how to place your hands

>and how to move them. You will practice scales on the piano, not

>knowing why at the time, but that practice lays a firm foundation even

>though the understanding is missing initially.

It's been a long time, but I'm pretty sure that they wanted me to understand

key signatures and circle-of-fifths from the beginning, before I had much

"firm foundation" of playing skill. (Not to mention that music teaching also

has its radical critics, for some of the same reasons as math teaching -- it

turns off more people than it turns on.)

I think, too, that the original context of this thread has been lost among

the big ideas. We are talking about a population of kids who have already

failed at learning arithmetic. So we *know for sure* that more of the same

is *not* going to do *these* kids any good. Maybe giving them some actual

mathematics won't work either, for many of them, but maybe it will, and it

certainly can't do any worse than yet another year of remedial arithmetic.

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