
Re: Essay: The Future of High School Math
Posted:
Dec 12, 2013 12:58 PM


On 12/12/2013 7:47 AM, GS Chandy wrote: > Robert Hansen posted Dec 12, 2013 6:45 PM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9342039): >> On Dec 12, 2013, at 5:56 AM, GS Chandy >> <gs_chandy@yahoo.com> wrote: >> >>> i) An *effective* course would NOT be "severely >> lacking", as RH suggests, "in providing the student >> the ability to earn a living": any sound course would >> always be tied to providing students the ability to >> earn a living"; and >> >> I suggested that an effective course would not be >> effective? >> > I don't know. Did you suggest such a thing? That would seem to be not very sensible. You have suggested other weird ideas, such as "Students must be PUSHED to learn math", and etc. You have also lent support to the infamous slogans propounded by Haim and Wayne Bishop, namely: > >   "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" and >   "BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION!" > > neither of which is meaningful visavis the improvement of education in the US (or in any country). >> Gary never said ?effective?. He said halfandhalf, >> sudoku and puzzles. I was suggesting (obviously) that >> such a course, based on sudoku and puzzles, would not >> be effective in providing the student the ability to >> earn a living. >> > The 'sudoku and puzzles' may well  if effectively handled  help the learner to get over the 'fear and loathing' of math that is alas all too common using traditional means of teaching math. > I never intended that math become "puzzles"  only that students be exposed to the notion that math is essentially "figuring things out". What many adults do with their sudokus, crosswords etc in their spare time is essentially "figuring things out". (without loathing or fear). Most of us get real satisfaction in solving some problem or other. Why not expose students to such experiences through mathematics?
If we limit a math education to mastery of various algorithms, then I believe we seriously shortchange students. If math is reduced to training & memorization, then what advantage is there to learning math versus Biology or History. I don't claim that other subjects are bereft of analysis, but math has the advantage that such "figuring" can take place at a much earlier age. Rather than present a class with a 12 X 12 table to memorize  even speedtest, why not provide an environment where many students could 'discover' that an even X an integer is even; that an odd X odd is odd; that numbers can be multiplied in any order etc  leading into the table memorization. A capable student should be able to, say , multiply 7X 19 by noting it is 7 less than 20 7s, which are themselves 10 14s  all mentally.
I believe we are better served if graduating students can confidently view themselves as proficient at such analysis (rather than claiming they have aced 'Cramer's Rule' or whatever.)
Gary Tupper Terrace BC
PS Computer programming is another conduit for such 'math' creativity.

