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Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Topic: sports and education
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jun 3, 1995 3:12 PM

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Michelle Manes

Posts: 64
Registered: 12/3/04
sports and education
Posted: Jun 3, 1995 1:26 PM
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_______________________________________________________________________________
Subject: Re: meaningful standards (2nd try)
From: David Scott Powell <powell@kimiyo.ed.hawaii.edu> at internet
Date: 6/2/95 10:50 PM


[snip]
>Harv I think this analogy is kinda off. Why do people want to compare
>education to sports? It is a dangerous comparison because it leads to
>people thinking that being able to do math is like having athletic ability.
>You have probably heard people say "I never good at math" like you would
>say "I was never good at playing golf". It leads people to think of
>understanding math as some inherited talent.
>
>


I'm sidetracking things a bit here, I hope, since I'm sick to death
of name-calling. I want to disagree with the above. I think that
athletics and academics are not so far apart. Here's why:

I was raised to value academics. I spent lots of time working hard
at learning. I thus became mathematically "talented." I don't kid
myself that I had a special innate ability that the other kids lacked.
What I had was intellectual curiousity, a big brother who was majoring
in math and gave me silly games, and a belief that it was "important"
to do well in school for myself and for my future.

It was not until adulthood that I became truly interested in sports.
I found that I did not have the "innate ability" that I saw in others.
Why? Well, they had played sports throughout school, into college.
They had been raised with a belief that physical activity, coordination,
strength, and speed were "important," so they became atheletically
talented. My struggle with sports now---teaching my body to do things
it's never had to do before---is similar to my mother trying to learn
math and computer science as an adult. She didn't grow up thinking
about these things. It's all new to her and she needs to re-train
some muscles, build some instincts. All the same things I need to do.

But, we can both become better (maybe even good) at what we want to
do with:
1. Quality instruction
2. Perseverance
3. Hard work

I hesitate to say that math comes easy to me, but it certainly comes
easier than flying side kicks. But I work out with lots of folks
who learn to do kicks much more quickly than proofs. That doesn't
mean they can't do math, any more than I can't do martial arts. It
means that we have to work a little harder...

-michelle











Scott Powell
1776 University Ave.
University Lab School
Honolulu, Hi, 96822
(808)956-4987
powell@math.ed.hawaii.edu








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