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#1 2015-10-20 04:21:19

absentinsomniac
Administrator
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 16,757

How they should start teaching math

I honestly believe in the lower grades, they should give people a top-down view of mathematics. Not even just for "practical applications", which in my opinion is a failed fucking experiment because it's a lie and kids don't give a shit about "practical" applications of mathematics where they're not actually practical or normally applied, what I think should be done is a general overview of mathematics as a field. That would have interested me as a kid *way* more than anything they ever did for me. They're trying to obscure the truth, show everything in a practical light, generate interest in math, all this fucking bullshit, but all they really need to do is not lie. Have an overview course very early on about the grander theories in math, maybe a little history. Sort of like a survey course for fucking any other course sequence.


Only math majors end up getting to take these sorts of survey courses at my Uni. Why? It doesn't have to be the nitty gritty details, just create a survey course that explains how components in lower maths ends up directly tying together with extremely complex higher math. Teachers always tell you that math "builds on itself", but no kid knows what that means in a visceral way. They don't give a shit if it builds on itself, because they simply don't know where the fuck it's building to. Why should they care about complex mathematics at the end of the road? They probably won't even end up doing any of that math, anyway. Since they don't care about any of that, why give a fuck about any of the lower levels?


There should be much more done in this arena. If in Algebra in middle school I knew how many of the constructs I'm learning directly translated into the foundations of much more complex abstractions for very interesting and sexy looking geometric patterns and conceptual calculus-like limit stuff, let alone any of the more advanced concepts that even now I don't know much about... I'd be way, way more interested. It was like they put fucking horse blinders on me in school and said "learn this because learn it". "It's practical" when everyone can clearly see it's not practical for non-mathematicians. "It's interesting when you really think about it" when no kid in any of those classes has the requisite knowledge to understand *why* it's interesting or what it's supposed to build up to...


Shit bothers me. The more I got into discrete math the more pissed I was at my shitty math teachers for neglecting any actual insight into where math goes, at all. Not a single word was mentioned about geometric shapes in math or concepts of infinitely finite lines or complex multidimensional planes. Euclidean space can be fascinating from an intuitive conceptual standpoint.

invxfig2a.jpg

And you know what really gets me? Even in University a lot of the professors neglect to say anything about how a lot of this can directly be used in mapping the physical world, or at least a conceptual version of it. And that's the whole fucking point... The most fun I ever had in mathematics was when we got my teacher to go off on a tangent about euclidean space curves, and why the bounds of a given plane are even existing. This happened because a kid asked why one can't just cross-over towards another thing within the problem. IIRC. I have it written down. She gave a semi-ok answer but I ended up coming up with an even better answer while going through it a bunch of times in my head. It made real intuitive sense. That was the most interesting thing to me. Why they don't try to generate this kind of interest and link it to lower maths is beyond me.


Fucc

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#2 2015-10-20 04:50:39

SheBurns
e
Registered: 2014-11-09
Posts: 657

Re: How they should start teaching math

MATH MATH MATH MATH
I'm terrible at math. I don't understand it and I'm too afraid of failing to try to understand it better.

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#3 2015-10-20 05:01:44

absentinsomniac
Administrator
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 16,757

Re: How they should start teaching math

main reason math is hard is because it looks like a giant mountain


turns out the slope of the mountain isn't so steep


it's just a really long walk


sometimes, though, you can learn something that acts as a sort of catapult, and you can skip a bunch of area quickly, which is nice


Fucc

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#4 2015-10-20 05:15:47

SheBurns
e
Registered: 2014-11-09
Posts: 657

Re: How they should start teaching math

;_;

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#5 2015-10-20 08:12:27

weland
The grumpy town drunk
Registered: 2015-07-27
Posts: 157
Website

Re: How they should start teaching math

Paul Lockhart is an accomplished mathematician who kind of agrees with you.

https://www.maa.org/external_archive/de … Lament.pdf


Studies show that learning exotic programming languages like Haskell, LISP/Scheme accelerates neckbeard & facial hair growth.

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#6 2015-10-20 09:16:30

SaintVicious
Jewing Intensifies
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 7,029

Re: How they should start teaching math

The only math people need to learn is financial math. Things that directly apply to them. The difference between APR and APY. Calculating how much interest you're going to pay on a loan. When cash back is more viable(read almost never). Things beyond multiplication tables and basic fractions are literally NEVER used. Unless you are in one of those fields that requires it.

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#7 2015-10-20 13:17:33

absentinsomniac
Administrator
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 16,757

Re: How they should start teaching math

True, in some cases folks don't even need the shit


Fucc

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#8 2015-10-21 06:17:19

Green1
Member
Registered: 2015-10-21
Posts: 713

Re: How they should start teaching math

absentinsomniac wrote:

True, in some cases folks don't even need the shit

I think more the point is that they do not push enough on the ones that like it and they push way too much on the ones who have no aptitude. Or have other agendas than mastering a hard subject.

I mean come on? Year after year of Algebra?  Teach that stuff in college and teach no further if they are not interested or do not need it. Hell, the CCs already teach base math if someone missed it or had horrible teachers the first time!

Outside of base math, reading, history and science they should just give you an option just to go straight to trade school.

... unless you are building the next Space X rocket or writing theorems that PhDs write for other PhDs.

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#9 2015-10-21 06:28:01

absentinsomniac
Administrator
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 16,757

Re: How they should start teaching math

Yeah, I fucked up in math throughout my entire high school career. I graduated in Algebra II with a D-, *barely* passed. My teacher thought I was going into political science or something. I just went to community college and learned most of what I needed, and I"m still learning math now. I'm a senior in University for computer science.


Some basis in basic math might be necessary but beyond that it doesn't seem particularly necessary for schooling, especially when the schooling is mandatory.


Fucc

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#10 2015-10-21 07:15:38

Green1
Member
Registered: 2015-10-21
Posts: 713

Re: How they should start teaching math

But, what to do?

Some of the compulsory stuff is almost necessary. Otherwise a lot would just be content to learn nothing.  I do think there should be a bar. Otherwise, some people would never be exposed to stuff they otherwise may have liked. And, society needs more folks that can add, subtract, or even form sentences!

But, I agree with you that the structure of high school most places are a bit rigid and not the way folks learn. A lot of real world positions have less hours than school if you factor in homework that probably should have been done. I have met a lot of folks who did all that homework that probably should have learned social skills instead. I also met those the other way around that socialized a lot, but are not too bright. Balance, though.

I guess it all comes down to this, though. It is up to YOU to learn stuff in the end. Until they come with some pill to take, all this victim stuff does not help other than an epic pity party.

And let's really look at it. The only ones that look at a HS diploma or GED are the military, a prospective college, or government gig. I suppose a throwaway job may want to look at it if you look young just to weed out applications, but I guarantee you could make up a high school and put it on there and nothing would come of it.

Now, if you happen to be illiterate or ass backwards coming out  ... I think most will notice that more than a score on a paper in some archive or entry on a hard drive for grades.

Last edited by Green1 (2015-10-21 07:16:17)

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#11 2015-10-21 16:58:59

TheWake
Illuminatus Sacerdos
From: Yankee-Occupied South
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 8,272

Re: How they should start teaching math

I think the reason people hate math and think they're bad at it is because you're penalized at an early age for fucking up and it's a very unforgiving subject. So people get bad grades early on and think, oh well I just can't math might as well not try.

What I've found in math (and believe me I'm no mathematical whiz, as evidenced by my current struggle to pass my Discrete Mathematics course with a C) is that it takes time and effort put in. There's an investment to understanding it. And a decent teacher goes a long way too.


The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

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#12 2015-10-21 17:11:30

sloth
WITNESS ME
From: Spurdoland
Registered: 2012-06-17
Posts: 7,829

Re: How they should start teaching math

I had teachers who where so terrible that even though I figured something out and explained it to the class, after the teacher explained it I would not understand it any longer.


Thanks for the read. Gives back at least some hope that not all mathematicians are idiots. It never seemed particularly hard for me - that is before the injury - but it really takes a lot of time. Having parents that are actually available to help you study might help. After all it takes a lot of time to study.


Hindsight is always 20/20.

God wrote:

A surprising amount of insight can be gleamed from sitting on the toilet. More concerning, however, is the amount of nostalgia. neutral

When in doubt, move north. God bless suomi.

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#13 2015-10-21 17:21:09

V.R.
receive {_, _} -> void.
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 5,352

Re: How they should start teaching math

Who the hell is Green1? Well, I think it's obvious, but you can never be sure.


"Humanity Is Overrated" - Shrek

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#14 2015-10-21 17:57:58

Green1
Member
Registered: 2015-10-21
Posts: 713

Re: How they should start teaching math

TheWake wrote:

I think the reason people hate math and think they're bad at it is because you're penalized at an early age for fucking up and it's a very unforgiving subject. So people get bad grades early on and think, oh well I just can't math might as well not try.

What I've found in math (and believe me I'm no mathematical whiz, as evidenced by my current struggle to pass my Discrete Mathematics course with a C) is that it takes time and effort put in. There's an investment to understanding it. And a decent teacher goes a long way too.

How true.

It does penalize you. It's not like history. Missing Napoleon does not screw up knowing about Winston Churchill. It's not even like English. Just because you had to barf up some composition on a lame subject does not mean you can not barf out something better the following week.

Back in ancient times, in my school we had a series of algebra books called Saxon books. It was common in parochial schools.

It's main selling point was that each lesson built on the previous for years. Miss out on a concept somewhere down the line? You would be screwed for the year unless you got tutoring. You can easily fall in a hole that becomes increasingly harder to get out of. So much so, you finally say fuck it and just take a D, get the hell out, and never want to see it again.

Not that in most cases you would miss it. Not knowing how to solve some of these ridiculous word problems aren't going to keep you from being evicted or get you laid or any number of things probably more important at the time.

I think if the classes were "Here's books. Go at your own pace but be done by the end of the semester. I am here to help with things you are hung up on. Take tests when you are ready", more folks would have more interest. That, and a good mentor. Those things always help.

Who the hell is Green1? Well, I think it's obvious, but you can never be sure.

You tell me. I was strolling down memory lane and saw a copy of Steal This Wiki up. An editable one hosted here. I wrote a lot of that stuff while stealth camping and living without landlords for a bit.

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