Further my post dt. Sep 11, 2013 8:43 AM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9256497): > <snip> > MvS's suggestion is incorrect (see it in copy below > my signature). I find it surprising that a supposed > 'math savant' such as she should go so very wrong in > her diagnosis of the problem her fan brought to > attention. > Or perhaps it's not so surprising. (I don't know much about Ms vos Savant's antecedents). This may be confirmation of the fact that 'expert mathematicians' may not necessarily be the best persons "to actually teach mathematics". The 'teaching of mathematics' involves skills and background knowledge that are different from those required to 'do mathematics'.
This is NOT to suggest that math teachers should not know their subject matter of math thoroughly - but that they need not be highly expert mathematicians themselves. The expertise that's crucial for them lies in the understanding of how students 'learn' - they need to understand the "Aha! Got it!" expression of a learner who has understood a new concept; to recognize the puzzled expression of the learner who has not 'got it' (and to know what he/she [the teacher] could do about it). <snip> MvS has various other misunderstandings of the issue of math and its significance to life/society, for instance: > > > Math doesn't enlighten us the way > > literature, social > > studies, or art appreciation do. Instead, it's an > > extremely valuable > > tool that many of us simply don't need to use > > much. Well, math surely does not enlighten in the SAME way that literature or art does - but it certainly DOES help enlighten us about how we can understand the real world (which is also pretty valuable [apart from being useful in a 'daily bread' sort of way]).