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Re: Learning and Mathematics: Papert, mathetics
Posted:
Nov 14, 1995 9:52 AM


In article <199511131556.KAA04070@oak.cc.swarthmore.edu>, claird1@swarthmore.edu (katie laird) wrote:
> > It is the first part of this "answer" that I find most important and most > difficult for teachers to implement. The willingness to take up questions > to which one does not have the answer takes bravery. But the rewards are > great. That is, we grow up believing that teachers know everything about > the subject they teach. The problem with this idea is that then teachers > never model for their students how THEY would go about learning. The > really great thing about a teacher who is open to addressing questions to > which she does not know the answer is that the students get to see a model > of learning and searching that perhaps they had previously not thought > possible.
I completely agree with Katie. An interesting example of this concept comes from my sister, who is a seventhgrade English teacher. Her feeling is that it might be better for her to be a math teacher, since she has long struggled to understand mathematics herself. Teaching English, she cannot relate to her students' struggles since she has never had comparable trouble learning English and writing skills, and therefore cannot model the learning process for them. If she taught math on the other hand, she would be far better equipped to work with the students on the learning process aspect of the class. This would subsequently open her up to the types of discussions about learning that Papert promotes. Of course the reality is that she will never become a math teacher  but it does make me think that sometimes the best things for people to teach are the ones that did not come easily for them, where the learning process has been a struggle of which they are constantly aware.



