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Discussion: All Topics in Algebra
Topic: Factoring Quadratics

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Subject:   RE: Factoring Quadratics
Author: LFS
Date: Jan 26 2009
Thank-you Craig for looking at the resources. Below are my credentials. I
REALLY appreciate your very thoughtful response and actually I believe that it
is "the exception that proves my point".
I most definitely agree to teaching factoring and completing the square to
exceptional students. Most definitely.
Also, I totally agree that we teach mathematics not just to teach math skills
and techniques, but - perhaps mainly - to teach logical thinking skills.
My website: is dedicated to this.

But for the everyday student and even for good students, teaching factoring in
order to teach "mathematical flexibility" (or in order to simplify rational
expressions that nobody ever uses) or teaching completing the square in order to
prove the quadratic formula (or in order to graph a parabola in the hardest
possible way) - in my opinion - is a waste of good teaching and thinking time.

Originally I just put up the "scheme" for factoring on youtube because I kept
getting asked by parents how to do it so their kid can pass the test because
factoring is a "standard". I totally agree (and say) that this is a "scheme" or
"technique" and not an explanation.
Re: Credentials
I am Linda Fahlberg-Stojanovska, Ph.D. and a professor of mathematics and
computer sciences at the state university in Bitola, FYR Macedonia. I am US by
nationality and my Ph.D. is from the US in theoretical mathematics under Dr.
Lai-Sang Young. When I was much younger I received a Fullbright travel grant
to MK and married and stayed here.
I teach undergraduate and graduate engineering mathematics, but my love is
integrating technology effectively into teaching any mathematics at any
I work in developing free, downloadable, easily translatable interactive
resources for teaching mathematics - particularly with GeoGebra and Scratch
(both freeware).
I also develop mathcasts (my brother Tim Fahlberg pioneered mathcasts over 12
years ago) as tutorials for GeoGebra.  
Unfortunately I set up the blog with my avatar in Second Life name and I am not
good with blogs and cannot figure out how to change it and don't want to start a
new one. I barely blog on this one :)
Again, thanks for your response.

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