Friday, July 25, 2008

It's amazing what happens if you actually teach them

As I have been saying for years, you will rarely do well in a subject if you don't take classes in it. The new results of math abilities for girls vs. boys is right up there with "Water is Wet, Film at 11". I don't care how big your brain is, if you have never seen the symbol for closed curve contour integration you will NOT figure it out intuitively. Math is the most abstract subject taught. Thus, it is like a language. You need to start early, and *keep* taking classes to stretch the brain. It really doesn't help that our current methods of math instruction are boring and pathetic right when they need to be interesting -- grade school and junior high. You have to be familiar with calculus as a freshman in college to succeed in technical subjects such as physics, and it is extremely difficult to catch up at that point.

Math pedagogy needs improvement, more math earlier in the curriculum, and basic math skills (especially statistics) should be required for a high school diploma. Even if the kid will never go to college, they *are* citizens of this country and need to be able to make informed decisions when they vote. That's what schools should concern themselves with. Do that first, and then worry about (sorry) art and music. No dessert until vegetables have been finished.

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