Mathematician’s Lament

The article A Mathematician’s Lament written by Paul Lockhart was very passionate as he articulated his views on the death of mathematics. Lockhart stated that mathematics is an art that is taught by teachers who are not qualified to do this subject justice. As a result of unqualified teachers, educators and the system, children suffer the agony of receiving misinformation, have to learn formulas that are not important and are tested just to add anxiety to their lives. He claims it is a nightmare and the child’s natural curiosity and love for pattern-making is being destroyed. He also stated that everyone knows what’s best for the students, but no one has asked the students what is best for them.

Lament listed the problem very eloquently, however there were no solutions. I am in agreement that the Mathematics curriculum needs drastic change, however change cannot come overnight. My method of teaching was pretty much the same as everyone else – formulas, exercises and testing. I have since learned differently. I hold myself responsible if I should return to the same mundane way of teaching. Technology is such that our children can be engaged in creativity, problem solving and logical reasoning.

I beg to differ about the qualification of teachers. Teachers are only teaching what they were taught. It has been a trickledown effect and those who know better are doing better.  Lament should reach out to teachers and share the excitement of teaching math, so that the beauty of art in mathematics can be fully expressed in the classroom.

http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_03_08.html

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