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Re: The Myth of 'I'm Bad at Math'
Posted:
Nov 5, 2013 6:29 PM


This thread is running far away from the point of the article ... its rhetorical weaknesses notwithstanding. The "myth" of which it speaks is a personbyperson conviction of the individual, that he or she does not have a "nonmathematical mind."
It stems from regarding "mathematics" as being the kind of things that the learner encountered in school/college courses that were labeled "mathematics" ... and from rationally floundering with that schoolkind of "mathematics." Those scholastic experiences ... so labeled ... literally *define* whatever the word, "mathematics", means for students. In reality, it is a belief that he/she does not have the kind of mind that can effectively and efficiently learn THAT kind of *school mathematics*.
Closely associated with the article is students' beliefs that being "good at math" equates with easily earning good grades in such "school math" ... even though the "school math" may be nonsensible, irrational, parrottraining to perform testitems. Many victims of severe "math anxiety" suffer from being too mathematical for how they are being "taught."
In the researchoriented, MALEI Mathematical Learning Clinic we have found that a major cause for students being "no good at math" is that they are TOO good at math. The students who appear to be "really good at math" often are students who are really good only at programming themselves to execute dataprocessing routines ... and at regurgitating dialog ... in ways that result in high scores. But there are other students whose minds so insist on knowing the contentmeanings of the jargon ... and on grasping the mathematical commonsensibility of the concepts, facts, and processes ... that their minds are unwilling to play mathematical blind man's bluff well, if at all. In some very extreme cases, they were "assessed" as being mathematically retarded because they were too theoretical to digest the garbage fed to them by the drill&kill workbooks.
The nonmyth is that most students sooner or later flounder with *that* kind of "mathematics" ... revealing that , in fact, they are "no good at [that school kind of] mathematics" ... even if very good at some forreal mathematics that they do not recognize as being "mathematics" (as defined by their scholastic experiences).
No myth: lots of people are "bad at math" [school math and real math]. Widespread myth: finding it difficult to earn high scores in courses or on tests that someone calls "mathematics" is a sign of low aptitude? NOT SO. To the contrary, it might be a sign of a creative, analytic, rationallearning, theoristic, mathematical mind that cannot cope with mathematically nonsensible "mathematics" curricula. You will never find students who have strong reading/writing skills who also are lacking in mathematical aptitude ... even if they cannot pass the usual first course in high school algebra. [Make that course fully commonsensible, and they can sail through it.]
  From: "Louis Talman" <talmanl@gmail.com> Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2013 10:29 AM To: "Robert Hansen" <bob@rsccore.com> Cc: <mathteach@mathforum.org> Subject: Re: The Myth of 'I'm Bad at Math'
> On Tue, 05 Nov 2013 06:58:20 0700, Robert Hansen <bob@rsccore.com> wrote: > >> I don't understand the question.:) > > Denying that there's a problem is one approach. > >  Louis A. Talman > Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Metropolitan State University of Denver > > <http://rowdy.msudenver.edu/~talmanl>



