September 21, 2008

Holy Shit and Oh My God #2

Thank you, Red Molly, for sharing Lockhart's Lament. It is 25 well written pages that I think every parent should read. A small introductory taste:

All this fussing and primping about which "topics" should be taught in what order, or the use of this notation instead of that notation, or which make and model of calculator to use, for god's sake-- it's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! Mathematics is the music of reason. To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration; to be in a state of confusion-- not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it sense and you still don't understand what your creation is up to; to have a breakthrough idea; to be frustrated as an artist; to be awed and overwhelmed by an almost painful beauty; to be alive, damn it. Remove this from mathematics and you can have all the conferences you like; it won't matter. Operate all you want, doctors: your patient is already dead.

What do I repeat over and over again? The time line of corporate education is arbitrary. And the way this man thinks and talks about what math education should be, could be, is "the music of reason" to my unschooling ears.