I am not a teacher–I don’t have the patience for it. But I really admire those who do. I know some great teachers. These are people who find real joy seeing the light come on in a student’s eyes when they finally “get it.”
We in the US are in the unfortunate position of dealing with many years of “dumbing down” of our education system. Efforts to standardize education–while noble in concept–have really just established a standard for conformity and only served to maximize mediocrity. A car race where everyone is required to drive 55 offers little motivation for those who can go 100.
Of course, the Really Big Problem is using education to further an agenda. I came across this a while back. (Sorry, but I don’t know how to attribute it.)
1. Teaching Math In 1950s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?
2. Teaching Math In 1960s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
3. Teaching Math In 1970s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math In 1980s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 1990s
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it’s ok. )
In November, 2010 BBC Four aired a 6 part series titled “The Beauty of Diagrams”. In the series, beginning with the Vitruvian Man, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy explains how and why pictures really do serve a thousand or more words. It is currently available on BBC’s iPlayer, and certain internet repositories.
This is something for the truly intellectual geek. I, on the other hand tend to more mundane fare, as the following beautiful diagram illustrates.