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Topic: Canticles
Replies: 5   Last Post: Feb 5, 1998 9:13 PM

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Lou Talman

Posts: 876
Registered: 12/3/04
Canticles
Posted: Feb 5, 1998 1:52 AM
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Back in the *good* old days, before reform (and the associated strife)
had muddied the waters, memorizing certain things was the *only* way
that a practitioner of mathematics could practice certain things.
(Please--no jokes about how long one has to practice before one is
permitted to perform.) Unless, I suppose, said practitioner carried
around multiple resources in the quaint, but bulky, form of books. Even
with books as resources, the practitioner usually needed to have
acquired a certain level of facility with the techniques most of us
memorized.

Chanting, and similar strategies, are really quite effective. I used to
teach the quotient rule for derivatives by telling students to write it
out on a 3-by-5, carry that card around with them, and pull it out and
read it *out loud* every time they remembered that they had the card
with them. (Well, I told them that they were allowed to mumble it under
their breaths if they were in a situation, like, say, church, where it
wasn't socially acceptable to say it out loud.) If they do this, they
find that they aren't really reading the card after a few days; it's
become automatic. From then on, when one wants the derivative of a
quotient, one need only ask one's Mouth what do to. The Mouth will
reply with "The derivative of a quotient is..." perfectly, and all that
one need do is listen carefully to the instructions it gives.

Lest Ralph complain, I hasten to add that I do not consider such
memorization "doing" mathematics. Lest Mike complain, I hasten to add
that I don't know whether or not I am describing present necessity.

--Lou Talman





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