NOT A MATHEMATICAL FORMULA

May 26, 2017

I am so grateful to have my position as a teacher. At the start of each semester I am reminded what a blessing and privilege it is to be in this position. I have heard way too many professors at my school talk about what they have to teach their students. I talk with my students about how we teach each other. Yes, I know a lot and I am here to share my knowledge with them. However, they have taken classes, experienced things, read things, taken courses, and know things I could not learn if I had not met them.

I am also reminded of how much harm the educational system has done to students. I remember reading a book a while back called A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger van Oech. He helped me to understand how our system has taught students that there is A right answer, when there is really not. He wrote,

By the time the average person finishes college he or she will have taken over 2,600 tests, quizzes and exams.  The ‘right answer’ approach becomes deeply ingrained in our thinking.  This may be fine for some mathematical problems, where there is in fact only one right answer.  The difficulty is that most of life isn’t that way.  Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers – all depending on what you are looking for.  But if you think there is only one right answer, then you’ll stop looking as soon as you find one.

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