||[Apr. 30th, 2017|01:29 pm]
Mathematics is perceived as a difficult subject by most people and feelings of insufficiency are very common, among both laymen and professionals. This is not strange. Mathematics is difficult and demanding, just like classical music or athletics may be very difficult and demanding, which may create a lot of negative feelings for students pushed to perform. There is no way to eliminate all the difficulties met in these areas, except by trivialization. Following Einstein, one should always try to make Science and education based on Science as simple as possible, but not simpler.
In music and athletics the way out in our days is clear: the student who does not want to spend years on practicing inventions by Bach on the piano, or to become a master of high-jump, does not have to do so, but can choose some alternative activity. In mathematics this option is not available for anyone in elementary education, and not even an arts student at an American college may get away without a calculus course, not to speak of the engineering student who will have to pass several mathematics courses.
Mathematics education is thus compulsory for large groups of students, and since mathematics is difficult, for students on all levels, problems are bound to arise. These problems, apparent for everybody, form much of the motivation behind the task of the Mathematics Delegation.
“Dreams of calculus: Perspectives on mathematics education” by Johan Hoffman, Claes Johnson, and Anders Logg.