Are the Times Tables Turning?

Non-blog life (otherwise known as life) has eased up enough to get back to posting, and there’s quite a backlog of topical, “must do today” posts, plus a requested TNDOT. Usually, if I don’t get to a topical post quickly then I just drop the idea. Some recent media stuff has sufficiently annoyed me, however, that I’ll pretend it’s all still topical and I’ll post anyway.

First, another quick word about Tony Gardiner, who unexpectedly died last month. Tony’s death has affected me deeply, particularly given that I never met him, modulo attending a memorable lecture, and given that it was for only a couple years that we conversed, by email and through this blog. But I had begun to realise, and more so with his death, how much Tony had been guiding me, by explicit, admirably blunt, advice, and much more by example. I realised that I had started to compose blog posts with a “What would Tony think?” voice in my head. And Tony’s example is unparalleled. The amount that Tony contributed to mathematics education, for decades, is simply phenomenal, much of it dirt cheap or free. Tony had a missionary dedication to the mathematics education community, and he had a wisdom about mathematics education second to none. I know how fortunate I am to have Tony’s voice in my head. It will always be there.

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Whip Me, Beat Me, Call Me Edna

I’m still desperately trying to find some clear air to get back to proper blogging, but just a quick meta one.

For the last few weeks, readers of this blog have been annoyed by that idiotic “discover more” pop-up subscription thing. I didn’t initiate the stupid thing, and I’ve yelled at the blogger service that seemingly did. But I was also too snowed to think hard how to stop it until, yesterday, Franz the Complainer thought to mention his annoyance. Then I dug around and figured out how to stop it. (Hopefully.) So, the message is: abuse me. Continue reading “Whip Me, Beat Me, Call Me Edna”

Welcome, You New Guys

Over the last few days there has been a number of new subscribers to this blog: the influx has raised the total to seventeen. I guess you new guys are somehow a byproduct of the ABC story on VCAA’s maths exams, but I’m not sure exactly how. Presumably someone wrote a social media thing saying “Marty isn’t an asshole, you should subscribe”, or “Marty is an asshole, you should subscribe”, or something. Anyway, welcome, and if you care to indicate how you got here, I’m curious. Continue reading “Welcome, You New Guys”

Sending a Message to ACT’s Education Experts

This one is by request, and it’s way, way late. A month or so ago, I was contacted by Jessica Ring, a member of something called the ACT Alliance for Evidence-Based Education. Jessica contacted me because there had been set up a lightning ACT literacy and numeracy inquiry, and Jessica was hoping I would make a submission. Which I will, because I tend to do what people ask, and because Jessica and AAEBE appear to be batting for the good team. I would also appreciate it if readers considered making a brief submission, either by email or by answering the typically easy (and typically annoying) online survey. I give some details of and general thoughts on the inquiry below, the Terms of Reference are here and the Consultation Paper is here. The deadline for submissions is in a week, on 14 February. 13/02/24 The deadline for submissions has been extended two weeks, until 28 February.

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Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing

I’m late to this. Things have been busy, and not good. Still, the work goes on and this has to be done.

Last week, The Centre For Independent Studies came out with yet another “Analysis Paper”: Facing Up to Maths Anxiety. The paper is by “eminent professor David C Geary” and was launched with the standard fanfare, including a Canberra Times op ed by Geary and a companion ABC article by CIS’s Lead Education Pontificator, Glenn Fahey. Continue reading “Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing”

Jo Boaler, Hypocrite?

Jo Boaler, the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford University, was one of the main culprits behind the new California Mathematics Framework. (See here for Stanford mathematician, Brian Conrad‘s detailed criticism of the CMF). As part of the fight over the CMF, Boaler also had a run-in with Berkeley computer scientist, Jelani Nelson, and see also here and here. Boaler and her fellow clowns won, of course, which means, amongst other things, that high school algebra is now screwed up for millions of Californian public school kids. But, as Jelani Nelson has just reminded us, private schools are freer to do their own thing:

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