What Are the Good Mathematics Teaching Resources?

There’s no been shortage of Bad Stuff posts lately, even by the wallowing standards of this blog. So, today, let’s have an uplifting chat:* what are the good mathematics teaching resources?

This is the third and final post inspired by mysterious commenter texas. First, for who people should read on maths ed, see the discussion here. Then, for the discussion about good (and bad) mathematics curricula, go here. Now it’s on to mathematics teaching resources, by which we mean anything that can contribute to the content of teaching: notably good textbooks, problem sets and so forth.

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What Are the Good Mathematics Curricula?

And, for that matter, what are the bad mathematics curricula? Given that California has just shot itself in the everything it would be rude to ignore them.

We’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but simply haven’t gotten around to it. Mysterious commenter texas asked a number of “Where do I look?” questions. For one, on who should people read on maths ed, we put up a discussion point, which seemed to garner plenty of interest. So, finally, here is post on the second question (of three). Continue reading “What Are the Good Mathematics Curricula?”

California’s Memory Loss

The California Mathematics Framework has taken another step, with the latest draft released last week (many Word documents, many idiots). Critics who wish to comment have been given about three minutes to digest the thousand pages and then do so. For those who care to try, Jelani Nelson has posted an anonymous person’s monster work in compiling and PDF-ing the CMF documents, and tracking the (mostly lack of) changes. It is pretty clear that the CMF Powers don’t give a stuff what anyone thinks, but opponents gotta do what they gotta do.

There’s not much point in us working hard on this (our earlier snipes are here and here and here). Undoubtedly, Brian Conrad will soon update his site with comments on the new draft, and Greg Ashman has written on the CMF gang’s love of making things up.  We’ll just comment a little on one aspect of the CMF madness: memory.

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Jo Boaler, Ever the Victim

Jo Boaler, the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford University, has just posted on her recent mistreatment at the hands of a campaign against her. The post is titled,

Crossing the Line: When Academic Disagreement becomes Harassment and Abuse  

Boaler’s post includes detailed claims that she has received abuse, rape threats and more, the truth of which there is no reason to doubt and which if true then obviously points to inexcusable and disgusting behaviour directed at Boaler. The problem is, Boaler is also playing a game. Again.

I briefly discuss Boaler’s latest post, below, but first and mainly, I want to outline a prior dispute involving Boaler, which went public in 2012. The purpose of revisiting this decade-old dispute is not to distract from Boaler’s latest claims, but to provide needed context for these claims.

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Brian Conrad Rips into the California Mathematics Framework

We haven’t paid all that much attention to the California Mathematics Framework, except for noting Jo Boaler (and Keith Devlin) making an idiot of herself again (ditto Devlin). We’re too busy with the local clowns. Greg Ashman, however, has noted a remarkable new front in the war over CMF, and it is worth highlighting. Continue reading “Brian Conrad Rips into the California Mathematics Framework”

Professor Smarts Defends Professor Karen

Yesterday we wrote about Jo Boaler, her latest own goal and some of her checkered history. But her defenders are coming out as well to, well, defend her. Fair enough. Except, that their defense is dishonest and farcical. As it must be.

Yesterday, Keith Devlin took time off from trying to start World War III to retweet support for Boaler:
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Jo Boaler Shows Her True Colours, Again

There’s something poetically unfair about Jo Boaler being whacked this way and that for gouging some poor school district, and for threatening a black guy with calling the cops. The gouging was real and the threat was undeniable, and undeniably nasty, but none of it was surprising for Boaler and none of it was the point. Her gouging and her being a Professor Karen are not the main reasons why the people now whacking Boaler are so enjoying whacking her. But, God it is fun to watch, and God she deserves it. Continue reading “Jo Boaler Shows Her True Colours, Again”

Tony Gardiner on Problem Solving

This is our final excerpt from Teaching Mathematics at Secondary Level Tony Gardiner’s 2016 commentary and guide to the English Mathematics Curriculum. (The first two excerpts are here and here.) It is a long and beautifully clear discussion of the nature of problem-solving, and its proper place in a mathematics curriculum (pp 63-73). (For Australia’s demonstration of improper placement, see here, here and here.)

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Tony Gardiner on Financial Mathematics

Our first excerpt from Tony Gardiner’s Teaching Mathematics at Secondary Level is here. Our second excerpt is a short remark on “financial mathematics” in a mathematics curriculum (p 75). The relevance to Australia’s draft curriculum is obvious.

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Tony Gardiner on Exactness and Approximation

It’s been a while. We’ve been trying hard to get out a long, long post on ACARA and the draft curriculum. (Working title: Moby Albatross). We also had a great WitCH planned, but that was torpedoed by Simon the Likeable. For now, we’ll keep readers occupied with some excerpts from the writing of Tony Gardiner.

Gardiner is an English icon, sort of a one-man AMT, but without the foot-shooting. Previously, we wrote about Gardiner’s and Alenxandre Borovik’s beautiful (and free) book, The Essence of Mathematics Through Elementary Problems. Then a few weeks ago, we posted a “puzzle” from Gardiner’s book, Teaching Mathematics at Secondary Level.

Written in 2016, TMSL is Gardiner’s commentary and guide to the English Mathematics Curriculum, with a particular focus early secondary school (Key Stage 3). Although framed around a specific curriculum, much of  TMSL is written from a more general perspective. In particular, Chapter 2.3 of  TMSL is on problem solving and the manner in which problem solving can fit, or misfit, in a mathematics curriculum. We shall excerpt this chapter in three posts, beginning with two short passages and concluding with the main content of the chapter. Our first excerpt is on the importance of exactness in a mathematics curriculum (pp 73-75).

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