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The way mathematics should be taught

  1. Jul 23, 2011 #1
    It bugs me how terrible my math classes were in grammar and high school. Many teach the beauty of mathematics at a superficial level. They simply teach you formulas largely through memorization. When it should be taught through assisted self-discovery, showing the bigger picture, etc..

    At grammar school the following formula was slapped on the black board: c^2=a^2+b^2

    All I saw was a bunch of letters and numbers, no beauty or "coolness factor" was discovered.

    If it was taught the reasoning of it all through the teacher slowly showing us why c^2=a^2+b^2 I would have developed a liking towards the concept. Such as with

    Or through assisted self-discovery was taught the beauty of pi by the following dialogue and reasoning: http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/piorigin/piorigin.html

    I would have seen more of the beauty of mathematics much earlier.

    Seriously now, one of the reason that mathematics isn't one of the more popular fields is because the beauty is much more obscure and only gives itself up under careful scrutiny. It is much easier to develop a connection with other fields (psychology, etc.) because there is an immediate visible connection to the outside world.

    Taking mathematics out of context and slapping formulas simply does no merit to the potential beauty that is often hidden by bad teaching.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2011 #2


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    I think you are right but the real problem in my opinion is not teaching people how to think mathematically. Even a bad math text will reveal beauty to someone who knows how to think mathematically.
  4. Jul 23, 2011 #3


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    One thing you should note is that a lot of math teachers in pre-tertiary study do not have the background to teach in this context: most people with masters or other post graduate qualifications do not go into high school (and I don't blame them), and even those with bachelors tend not to go into teaching.
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