Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lockhart's Lament

I just finished reading "Lockhart's Lament" [pdf] which seems to have been posted as part of a monthly column at the MAA (if the page had an rss feed...). It was a great article about mathematics education, or lack thereof. I very much encourage you to read it. There is also, I just noticed, a followup, but I've not read that yet.

I hope I can do something, in my own classes, to address the issue brought up by the paper. Hopefully I remember to re-read this paper several times while preparing classes, and let if affect my course. I think I may also encourage my students to read it, especially if I can get my course to strike them as 'not a typical math course' (or even just certain class periods). Perhaps they'll be more on-board with atypical exercises if they have some idea where I'm coming from. Of course, his essay was geared toward K-12 classes, and I am (and hope to continue) teaching college classes, but still.

I also found the article inspiring on the 'math is awesome' level, which I've been lacking a bit as of late. Not making progress on research is frustrating, but math really is awesome. Reading 'A Mathematical Journey' by Schumer has also been helpful. I was thinking last night that this book is probably one I can return to throughout my life, and always (re?)discover wonderful things.

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