Monday, February 12, 2007

More feminist math

This started out as a comment to Alexandre Borovik's post but as I was writing it I decided it merits a post of its own.

I'd craft a strongly worded reaction to this garbage (the author compares sexual abuse to "math abuse"), but I hate to repeat myself.

I can only add that John Kellermeier's suggestion that mathematical education abandon its "right" answers and methods would be laughable if it weren't so frighteningly realistic.

This isn't to say that every problem has a unique answer or way of arriving at it. Some problems even have no known answers! But for pedagogical reasons, we tend to give youngsters well-posed, solvable problems that illustrate some specific correct technique.

Is Kellermeier really so humorless and out of touch as not to realize he's imitating Jack Handey?
Instead of having "answers" on a math test, they should just call them "impressions," and if you got a different "impression," so what, can't we all be brothers?

Except I guess you can't say "brothers" anymore. Is "siblings" sufficiently inclusive and diverse?

1 comment:

Leo said...

Some interesting comments on Alexandre's blog, follow the link to the original post. In those comments, I make it very clear that I am opposed to mockery and intimidation, by any teacher (heck, not just by teachers!). But that's the thing -- whatever legitimate points Kellermeier does make have nothing to do with math education per se and are equally applicable in any classroom setting.

Oh, and the "math abuse" stuff is still plenty hilarious -- I can't shake the feeling that I'm falling for a crude prank.