Date: Jan 6, 2013 5:38 PM
Author: Haim
Subject: Re: 'At Right Angles' - a journal from India

GS Chandy Posted: Jan 5, 2013 10:32 PM 

>In particular, I am happy to observe that they seem to
>have carried a fair amount of 'non-traditional' stuff,
>such as "Teaching fractions through paper folding".


To say that teaching fractions with folding paper is old hat is to be unkind to old hats. One has only to google something like "teaching fractions paper folding" to get 470,000 hits, including this perfectly lovely video uploaded in 2007,
http://youtu.be/GFzYCTqq0MA

"Fractions origami" gives a further 580,000 google hits (some overlap, no doubt). The first hit, interestingly, is from the IIT. Not the Indian Institute of Technology, but the Illinois Institute of Technology. It is a twenty-five year old lesson plan,
http://mypages.iit.edu/~smile/ma9320.html

Having been around so long, one must suppose that paper folding has made as much of an impact on math pedagogy as it is ever going to make. Alternatively, if much more pedagogical mileage could be obtained from paper folding (or other "non-traditional" methods) one simply must ask: where have the ed schools ayatollahs been? That is, what are ed school professors so gosh-darned busy with that they seem never to get around to issues of pedagogy?

My own view on this, as on every other pedagogical issue, is that better pedagogy is better for better students, and it generally leaves poor students where they have always been. That is, good pedagogy will help students, who would have learned the subject anyway, learn it better and faster. IMHO, this is an unambiguous good but, as is immediately apparent, it violates The Prime Directive. And that, dear friends, is the reason we hear no more about it.
>...
>I do wonder whether (on looking through what has been
>done thus far in "At Right Angles") Haim would classify
>the promoters of the magazine as members of an
>Indian 'Education Mafia'???


GS, unless you answer this question for yourself, you will have to keep on wondering. Since I know exactly nothing of the political structure of Indian education, any answer I offer would be the rankest speculation.

Haim
No representation without taxation.