Note that our question is not whether smart Victorian students should avoid Methods. Given that Methods is the ugliest, stupidest, most aimless, digitally perverted, anally retentive, error-strewn, little Hitler managed, God forsaken heap of anti-mathematical garbage ever conceived, or even conceivable, of course all students should avoid Methods if they possibly can. The question is, can they?
The obvious way to avoid Methods is to avoid VCE in its loathsome entirety, by taking the International Baccalaureate instead. That is not necessarily easy, however; in particular, it requires avoiding second rate schools, such as Scotch College. Still, IB is clearly the best option for those students who want to learn something and for whom IB is available. But perhaps VCE students can also get away with simply not doing Methods.
The idea of just ducking Methods has at times crossed our mind, but we’ve never pursued the thought. The possibility is explicitly raised, however, in VCAA’s Specialist Webinar, explaining their new, You Didn’t Think We Could Make It Even Stupider Did You Mathematics Study Design. Quoting VCAA Curriculum Manager, Michael MacNeill,
“A perennial question which crops up at least once a year I’m sure, can students study units three and four Specialist Maths without previously or concurrently studying units three and four Maths Methods? The answer is that it is technically permitted. However, please apply the lens of common sense should any students ask around that sort of a question.”
So, Methods is not “technically” a prerequisite or corequisite for Specialist. Which means that a Specialist student could conceivably take instead a more palatable subject, such as Techniques in Manure Shovelling, or Advanced Toenail Extraction. But what is implied by (ugh!) “the lens of common sense”? Does taking Methods help enough for Specialist to outweigh the transcendental relief of not doing Methods? Does it make any difference for university applications?
We don’t know the answers. We are curious what the smart and experienced teachers who read this blog think about it all.