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Currently a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in secondary math education.I have a deep affinity for old typewriters, pens, and keys.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Math is awesome.

I found this awesome piece of text thanks to a recent tweet by @earlsamuelson an awesome math teacher in Alberta. A Mathemetician's Lament by Paul Lockhart. he recommended it as a must read for future math educators and I agree. I also decided to share it since we had so much discussion on metaphors recently and this is just filled with them, especially at the start.

This may be a bit long for some EDM 310 students but I found it to be great read and well worth it. I feel embodies so much of the frustration I experience sometimes when math is brought up. It also covers so much of what we talk about throughout EDM 310. Metaphor, creativity in teaching a "non-creative" subject, people who are not "math people", “lecture, test, repeat”{page 10}, and more.

This was a wonderful read and I advise anyone who comes across this to read it especially if your focus is math. I love that it compares math to the arts and it has recharged my desire to teach the subject. I can barely begin to truly summarize how much this has to say. I love page ten when it uses a way that I read in Dr. Strange's voice for whatever reason:
“Excellent observation! Our chopping argument assumes that the tip of the triangle lies
directly over the base. Now we need a new idea.”
“Should I try chopping it a different way?”
“Absolutely. Try all sorts of ideas. Let me know what you come up with!"
{Page 11}

My favorite parts:
"The holy tablets, or “Math Books,” are handed out, and the students learn to address the church elders as “they” (as in “What do they want here? Do they want me to divide?”)" {page 24} 

"High School Geometry: Instrument of the Devil" {page 18}

"Mathematics is an art, and art should be taught by working artists, or if not, at least by people who appreciate the art form and can recognize it when they see it. It is not necessary that you learn music from a professional composer, but would you want yourself or your child to be taught by someone who doesn’t even play an instrument, and has never listened to a piece of music in their lives? Would you accept as an art teacher someone who has never picked up a pencil or stepped foot in a museum? Why is it that we accept math teachers who have never produced an original piece of mathematics, know nothing of the history and philosophy of the subject, nothing about recent developments, nothing in fact beyond what they are expected to present to their unfortunate students? What kind of a teacher is that? How can someone teach something that they themselves don’t do? I can’t dance, and consequently I would never
presume to think that I could teach a dance class (I could try, but it wouldn’t be pretty). The difference is I know I can’t dance. I don’t have anyone telling me I’m good at dancing just because I know a bunch of dance words."{Page 11}

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nickolas,
    Did you know that I also love maths too.It is one of my favourite Subject in school. I love the story it felt like it was real when I was reading it....

    Great work.....
    And post more!!!