Pre-course Reading Chapter 1 and 2

“Education is the point at which we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, not to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new—but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.”

-Hannah Arendt

“Suppose there were 20 sheep in a field, and 10 of them jumped a fence; how many sheep would be left?”

“None,” called out little Billy. “Billy, I’m surprised at your answer,” replied the teacher.

“Surely your arithmetic is better than that.”

“You may know arithmetic, teacher,” replied Billy, “but you don’t know sheep. If one jumped, they’d all jumped the fence.”

Creative logic cannot be easily refuted. If you think outside the box, you be surprised at your own creative genius. Creativity can pave a way for breakthrough to problems. ‘Since there is nothing new under the sun, creativity means simply putting old things together in a fresh way.’ (Sherwood E. Wirt)

Today’s math curriculum is teaching students to expect — and excel at — paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. I love math but to be a wonderful teacher of mathematics, to inspire the uninspired, requires me to confront my personal beliefs on what it is to do mathematics, how I go about learning mathematics, how to teach mathematics through reasoning  and sense making, and what it means to assess mathematics so that it leads to targeted instructional change. The change, then, has to begin with the teacher (A teacher affects eternity – he/she can never tell where his/her influence stops), to model much joy to be had in solving mathematical problems and nurture that passion in my students.

Teaching is the vocations of vocations, because to choose teaching is to choose to enable the choice of others. It is about the business of empowerment, the business of enabling others to do well -an act of hope for a better future. The rewards of teaching are neither ostentatious nor obvious – they are often internal, invisible, and of the moment. But paradoxically, they can be deeper, more lasting and less illusory. There is a particularly powerful satisfaction in caring a time of carelessness and of thinking oneself in a time of thoughtlessness. The reward of teaching is knowing that my life can still make a difference. As long as I live, I am under construction, becoming a teacher, learning to teach, practicing the art and craft of teaching. I am still trying to achieve wonderfulness.

The art of intellectual challenge of teaching mathematics involves becoming a student of my students, unlocking the wisdom in the room, and joining together a journey of discovery and surprise. The ethical demand is to see each student as a 3-dimensional creature, much like myself, and an unshakable faith in the irreducible and incalculable value of every human  being.

Anyone can learn mathematics for its ability is not inherited. Therefore, we should not be intimidated by math, because we’re slowly redefining what math is.


In this video “Math Needs A Makeover”below, Dan Meyer asks, “How can we design the ideal learning experience for students?” Meyer has spun off his enlightening message — that teachers “be less helpful” and push their students to formulate the steps to solve math problems — into a nationwide tour-of-duty on the speaking circuit.

“I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it but is forced by law to buy it.”

Dan Meyer  



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creative minds

the love for math

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