Friday, June 19, 2009

Lockhart's Lament or You Should Read This Now!

I've read this before but apparently I didn't blog it. Can't imagine why--it's fabulous! Makes me want to go back and re-teach high school math to Wolfie. A living books approach probably would have kept him interested in math, which he isn't anymore. :(

Anyway, here is a bit of "A Mathematician's Lament"by Paul Lockhart, an elegant proof that we may be teaching our children about mathematics but we're certainly not teaching them mathematics.

"By concentrating on what, and leaving out why, mathematics is reduced to an empty shell. The art is not in the “truth” but in the explanation, the argument. It is the argument itself which gives the truth its context, and determines what is really being said and meant. Mathematics is the art of explanation. If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity— to pose their own problems, make their own conjectures and discoveries, to be wrong, to be creatively frustrated, to have an inspiration, and to cobble together their own explanations and proofs— you deny them mathematics itself. So no, I’m not complaining about the presence of facts and formulas in our mathematics classes, I’m complaining about the lack of mathematics in our mathematics classes. "

It's a great argument against schooling in general, since while he claims no other subject has been so sucked dry of life and reason for living, the same could be said about history, economics, and most science courses. I've even seen it done in English classes. Pretty much any class that uses a textbook is about as interesting as the pile of wood pulp used to make said textbook. Oh yeah, I went there!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reporter Needs Your Help

I just got this message. "I found your blog while researching an article I'm writing for Parents magazine. I'm looking to interview the parents of an exceptional/gifted child. The main goal of this article will be to help parents learn how to deal with their kids' separate needs. In many families, one child is the subject of much attention due to either a positive accomplishment (ie. academic exellence, mvp) or a negative situation (ie. chronic illness, behavior issues). When this happens, a perfectly normal/average child may begin to feel inadequate or left out. I hope to raise parents awareness of this situation and give them tools for dealing with it. I read that your children are grown, but I thought you might be able to connect me to a family with 2 young children (under the age of 10) because of your connection with the Mensa organization."

I'm always willing to help out a fellow writer, but in this case I'm not qualified because my kids are too old for Parents' target audience. Can anyone out there help a brutha' out?