A Mathematicians Lament – Lockhart

“In fact, if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done (in mathematics education)— I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.”

Originally written in 2002 (I think), and change in education is particularly slow, but what are we current educators doing to impact this?  I think we are making some progress with an emphasis on the mathematical practices from the Common core, but I also believe that this change is more evident at the elementary and middle levels.  What can be done to incorporate the mathematical practices at the secondary level  (if you want a real challenge, consider Algebra I and Algebra ll). Yes we do have more tools available than in the recent past (we have GeoGebra and applications from Desmos), but what is actually changing in the secondary classroom? Are we enhancing discourse, and looking for structure and making generalizations (just to mention a few)?

– Kurt


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