Q&A #1739

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Purpose of studying algebra

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From: beebe

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006090716:50:19
Subject: language

don't lie to the students.  don't tell them algebra will help them in
whatever field they go into.  don't tell them it will help them solve
life's problems or pick out groceries for a recipie.  

algebra is a basic logic and form of communication that is pretty
fundumental and pretty global.  you can communicate with people all
over the world through algebra.  it's a basic set of problem solving
tools and mathmitical thought that is shared by almost all races.  

don't just study for the future.  

it seems in our society we are always just preparing for something,
you learn to make good grades to get into the advanced classes to have
a good tanscript so you can get into a good college where you try to
make good grades to have a good transcript to get a good job that you
work hard at to make more money to buy a house and start a family so
that you don't die alone.

when in all of that do you actually live.  

the fear of loneliness is not a good reason to study algebra. 

algebra is nice because you can do it without an external goal, simply
because it is something that humans do.  that is what makes it so
worth doing.  you can live while you do it and just enjoy.

if you don't enjoy it, it probably just means that you won't end up
being a engineer or scientist...unless maybe you are like Einstein who
would admit he was not actually that good at math.  

just try to be honest with the students.  tell them what you think
about algebra and don't regurgitate some totally artifical reasons why
studying algebra is SOOO important.  if you really believe in your
heart that learning algebra will be good for them.  try to think of
why, and that's the purpose. 

M.S. Physics
Algebra Teacher


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