[Maths-Education] Money Counts - and count more than maths.
Peter Gates
peter.gates@nottingham.ac.uk
Fri, 03 Nov 2000 11:30:06 +0000
John raises some important issues here, but let me ask a question.
Assume you were the father of two small girls. Assume also that you were a
librarian. Assume someone came in and asked for books somehow related
paedophilia. Assume also that a little girl of about 8 had just been
murdered by, it is claimed, a peadophile in your area.
Question. What do you do? Just not ask questions? I bet!!
Another question, you are in Germany in 1938.........I will let you finish
the analogue
Personally I find the analogue of the librarian frightening and unhelpful.
But it does open up clear blue water between me and you john.=20
I am personally not in this business because I have some divine desire to
teach maths. I am fundamentally a socialist, that is what drives me and it
is paramount to me. It comes before and is much more fundamental than my
teaching. I teach however as a socialist.=20
Whose 'good' mathematics John? The mathematics that killed so many Japanese
in 1945? The mathematics that causes children from ethnic minority groups
to be so disadvantaged in my country as well as yours? The mathematics that
alienates so many girls. OOooo you make me angry!
Mathematics is neither good nor bad - it is people who are.=20
I am not prepared to stop values being central simple because some don't
hold my values. What i will do is argue my values to show how superior they
are than others. If I win that battle -great, If I loose then I have to
rethink or to keep on battling.
For me (and possibly "my collaborators" that sounds rather chilling John -
I wish you hadn't said that it's rather patronizing) the Primary need is
not "that children learn good mathematics". That is just plan naivete.=20
OK Have I changed you mind? No I thought not. BUT at least I am being open
with my values. That surely must give you confidence in me.
Peter.
Oh and by the way - its a day of national celebration in the UK, Woodhead
has gone....
Where were you when you heard the news.....
>
>No course which we teach is ever value neutral. There is a reasonable case=
to
>be made that some of what we teach in mathematics supports values which are
>not in the best interests of our society. But this is only a reasonable=
case,
>not a divine message set in tablets of stone.
>
>It is therefore important that in attempting to corect what we may see as=
in
>imbalance/inappropriateness in values we do not do those very things which
>we are seeking to oppose.
>
>One of the characteristics of librarians which has always impresssed me is
their
>commitment to assisting readers to finding out information without asking=
any
>questions about the use to which the information will be put. I would argue
>that mathematics teachers have a similar calling: to provide students with
the
>power of being able to think mathematically and to show them what tools are
>available within the discipline.
>
>These are dangerous words to write. I know and accept at least some of the
arguments
>for the importance on context, relevance, and the need for social=
critiquing,
>though no doubt by now some of my readers will have decided otherwise. But=
I
>would still put before Peter Gates and his collaborators what I see as the
primary
>need of ensuring that students learn good mathematics in a way which will
enable
>them to use this mathematics as seems best to them. I have no doubt that=
some
>of them will use it in ways to which many (probably most) of us are very=
much
>opposed. But this will happen regardless of how much we try to blend social
>correctness with mathematics teaching.
>
>Personally, I put my long-term confidence in openness,and my fear is that
Peter
>Gates' proposal is a styep in the opposite direction. I should be delighted
>to find out that this is not so.
>
>John Truran
>Adelaide, South Australia
>
>
>
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>Maths-Education@nottingham.ac.uk
>http://lists.nottingham.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/maths-education
>=20
Peter.
***********************************************
Peter Gates
School of Education
The University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham=A0=A0 NG8 1BB
Great Britain
peter.gates@nottingham.ac.uk
Tel: +44 0115 951 4432
Fax: +44 0115 846 6600
Mob: +44 0773 080 8353 (pgates@genie.co.uk)
<http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/education>http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/education
<http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csme>http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csme
********************************************** =20