lim joe→∞

Teaching, Mathematics and Teaching Math.

Lockhart's Lament

Posted by forumjoe on September 18, 2009

This is a paper my Head-of-Maths slipped into my pigeon hole the other day, with a sticky note saying “Read this. It should change everything (that you think about Maths).”

He wasn’t wrong. Written in 2002 by Paul Lockhart, this has become a bible of sorts to several maths teachers, and doing a google search reveals LOTS of people with opinions on it. Anyway, in my effort to spread the knowledge, it’s something every maths teacher (or aspiring maths teacher) should read. It looks daunting, but I suggest that even the casual reader should read the first page, and see if it interests you. If so, print it out, take it home for some casual bed-time reading.

I guess my question for you, dear reader, is what do we do about this? Lockhart suggests lots of problems inherent within the educational culture (and the larger societal culture as well) about the way Mathematics is perceived. He goes on to demonstrate how it should be viewed, but… how do we initiate such large scale change? What’s the first step on the path of revolution?


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