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#1 2009-12-13 10:15:06

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 82,610

Rant for the day: Trend or random?

I am unhappy with how little mathematics I've learned since I entered college, relative to before when I was self taught

I have heard this three times in the past week. I suspect it may be more prevalent than we are being told or are willing to admit.

In my opinion these are the reasons that some students are saying this or something like it.

1) When you are studying something on your own, you are strongly motivated, as opposed to being somewhere you don't want to be. So, your results are much better.

2) The teachers (no one in here of course) are not what they used to be.  I hear now on 3 forums how some teacher behaved irrationally. Years of being bullied in classrooms by students and low pay have chased many off their chosen profession.

3) Poor curriculums that do not reflect modern mathematical trends or even refusing to acknowledge those trends has left students woefully unprepared for working in industry. Example, after 20 years, half the schools here cannot decide on the calculator issue.

4) General loss of pride in any form of work, where money has become the only reason to even go to work, has drained the whole society in general.

While computational technologies are transforming the professional practice of mathematics, as yet they have had little impact on school mathematics.

5) With Andy Wiles and Sir Michael Atiyah being the most outspoken detractors it is a small wonder why the above quote is true.

What do you think?


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

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#2 2009-12-13 12:10:13

MathsIsFun
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Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,534

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Good rant.

Option 1 makes most sense to me.

It would be nice if all study could be like that! But there are always some things you simply must know to do a job properly, even if they don't interest you, so *some* study can be self-motivated, but some study must be by curriculum.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#3 2009-12-13 13:44:19

John E. Franklin
Member
Registered: 2005-08-29
Posts: 3,561

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Although computers are an important tool, the mind and the centuries of knowledge that can be learned is far more important and I think this is well recognized.  I like computer programming, and am not a mathmatician, but I wish I was smart enough to be one.  I'll keep trying though.  I get caught up on simple formulas at times.

Learning on your own to me is quite hard because you have to be a good reader, but learning in college can be a verbal/oral and personal experience given a small enough class.  I'm a bad reader, but if I concentrate, I can read alright.  Learning purely on my own without textbooks is my favorite way, but then you end up learning things that no one else even heard of, like being able to count 246 matches, like Rainman, in 4 seconds.


igloo myrtilles fourmis

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#4 2009-12-13 17:44:22

Identity
Member
Registered: 2007-04-18
Posts: 934

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

When I am studying by myself it's true I learn better, but it's hard to muster the discipline to learn and not play games or waste my life in some other procrastinatory way. I don't think strict homeschooling is a good idea either though, because there is the risk that you turn your home into place 'you don't want to be'. I think school is necessary because it helps teach diligence... hmmm it's tricky

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#5 2009-12-13 18:56:04

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 82,610

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Hi all;

Here is another person, same thing:

I've always been terrible at mathematics, and would like to change that or at least give it a shot. Conventional tutors/professors never got me very far. I'm now relying on myself, and whatever useful recommendations I can find.


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

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#6 2009-12-13 18:58:34

Tigeree
Member
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 13,847

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

All the options seem pretty causable, to me. The first one, though, looks like the most probable. I am always better off on my own, which is why I'm pretty unsocial. Although it might be the teachers, when I was at school their methods kept changing every year. #4 does have an unfortunate, but accurate, point....


People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov
Cheer up, emo kid.

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#7 2009-12-13 23:01:18

Identity
Member
Registered: 2007-04-18
Posts: 934

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

I think a possible solution to this is smaller classrooms. Last year my physics classroom had 13 people, and it made a remarkable difference. Our teacher was able to chat with us and become friends, and that really made the classroom atmosphere more enjoyable. Right now, with big classrooms, teachers can only really act as mechanical robots, reading out the curriculum. They have too many people to deal with and don't have time to make learning fun.

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#8 2009-12-13 23:43:39

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 82,610

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Hi identity;

Yes, we can add that to the list.

6 Overcrowded classrooms.


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

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#9 2009-12-14 05:07:51

Devantè
Real Member
Registered: 2006-07-14
Posts: 6,400

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Well, in my experience, the best teachers can often be the least approachable - but they are best at their job. I've always preferred to work on my own, though.

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#10 2009-12-18 10:42:18

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 82,610

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Hi all;

Well, in my experience, the best teachers can often be the least approachable - but they are best at their job.

I can't agree. He/She might be the most knowledgeable but a teacher must be approachable.

I've always preferred to work on my own, though.

I sense it is because maybe you have done better on your own? That would reaffirm the qoute in post #1


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

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#11 2010-01-25 02:21:45

thoughtdotcom
Member
Registered: 2009-12-24
Posts: 26

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

1.  I agree with this as well.  When your motivated (and if you're not, then you likely wouldn't be doing it on your own time) learning is much easier.

2. I don't really agree with this.  There have always been good teachers, and bad teachers.  Everyone just tends to hear about the bad/angry/dysfunctional teachers more often is all.  (and, hey, that's news/media for you)
At the same time, I hear about my nephew's teachers, and see how they make him more interested in school and learning, and I know there are still good teachers out there.

3. Again, I agree with this.  At least where I am, I've noticed that much of the school work seems severly outdated.  (not to say it's completely useless, just outdated)

4.  please.  There will always be people that take pride in everything that they do.  There will be those that don't care about anything. And the rest of us will fall at varying places in between.  Personally, I've not seen a decline in people taking pride in their jobs, and what they do. Possibly more people dissatisfied with their jobs, but that doesn't stop you from taking pride in doing the job well.

Last edited by thoughtdotcom (2010-01-25 02:23:44)


I think, therefore you are.

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#12 2010-01-25 14:58:54

bobbym
Administrator
From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 82,610

Re: Rant for the day: Trend or random?

Personally, I've not seen a decline in people taking pride in their jobs, and what they do.

I have.


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

Offline

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