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Discussion: All Topics in Algebra on Computer
Topic: Feedback requested for online Algebra book


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Subject:   RE: Feedback requested for online Algebra book
Author: LFS
Date: Apr 12 2008
A "credible" response to my letter would have been for you to have found at
least one counter-example to my statement.

My statement is: "Learning algebra is not an effortless process.".
Given that this statement is true, a valid conclusion is: "The title of this
book is misleading.".

For example*, a credible response would have been to find a 9th grader and have
him/her understand the contents of this book - no excuse me, the first chapter
of this book, - no excuse me, the first page of this book without any effort.


I would have appreciated such a response showing me that it is indeed possible
to learn algebra without effort.

One does not lose one's credibility by having over 30 years teaching experience
helping students in their efforts to learn the facts, math skills and logical
thinking skills necessary for them to succeed in life, nor by spending
incredible time and effort at this work, but also extra time and effort to
constantly exchange ideas, best practices and experiences with other educators
in order to improve this process.

No, I did not lose my credibility. The publisher asked for feedback and I gave
it stating specifically what I had done and presenting facts to back up my
statements. Google: title book important sell and see how important publishers
consider the title of a book when selling. This is a fact.

However, one does lose credibility by baldly stating  - without any
substantiating facts - that when judging the merits of a book: (a)titles that
give false impressions (and hope) are not important, (b)we have time in our
"dismal math education" to allow books to be used based on reviews paid for by
the author and let the "chips fall where they may".

If you have statistical data based on research to show that (a) learning algebra
can be an effortless process, (b)book titles are not important and (c)reviews
(whether paid for by the author or not) are a fair measure of the quality of a
book to be used by young people, please present them here.
 
BTW: After writing my feedback, I received a email with the following link:
http://norvig.com/21-days.html from a programmer with similar sentiments.

* Mathematically speaking, a sufficient counter-example would not require that
one refute my statement using the book under review. However, since it is a book
intended for more than one reader and the book does not say "Effortless Algebra
for someONE", I am afraid that I would insist a least a decent sized sample set
of counter-examples for which learning algebra was effortless in order to
retract my statement. Meanwhile, I have yet to find a single counter-example.
:)




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