The Nature of Decolonising Mathematics

We have absolutely no time for this, but we feel obligated to write something. In their latest issue, the journal Nature – yes, that Nature – has a double-banger contribution to the “decolonization of mathematics”. To begin, there is an unsigned editorial, Why we have nothing to fear from the decolonization of mathematics. Then, the main event is a long article by “math and science writer“, Rachel Crowell, Charting a course to make maths truly universal. Both pieces are, of course, ridiculous. Continue reading “The Nature of Decolonising Mathematics”

Education Experts Notice the Disintegrating Dyke, and Advocate More Fingers

Yesterday, the Grattan Institute released a report:

Tackling under-achievement: Why Australia should embed high-quality small-group tuition in schools

Great idea. While you’re at it, maybe give each kid their own pony. Continue reading “Education Experts Notice the Disintegrating Dyke, and Advocate More Fingers”

Marshalling Resources

My family and I are just back from a week at the beach. Content from winning the Port Fairy boogie boarding championship,* I’ll soon get back to bashing the Australian curriculum and to other topics. First, a quick one, on some old books.

As is typical, the beach house where we stayed contained an odd assortment of games and DVDs and books. Oddest of the books was a selection from “The Marshall Cavendish Learning System”. These books are from the late 60s and rang the vaguest of bells, but I have no idea what the “learning system” was, if anything other than marketing, nor for whom the books were intended. The books, with no distinguishable authors, were published by the UK company Marshall Cavendish, which is now a Singaporean entity, or part of a Thai brewery, or something. God knows.

What is notable is that the books are good.

Continue reading “Marshalling Resources”

Rishi Rich’s New Maths Problem

Of course, Rishi Sunak’s original maths problem was how to hide God knows how many millions of pounds from the UK tax authorities. Rishi’s new maths problem is convincing anyone that his idea for school kids to study “maths” until they’re eighteen isn’t monumentally stupid.

On the other hand, if anyone commenting on Sunak’s latest idiocy wrote anything remotely intelligent, we failed to see it. (But thank God for Michael Spicer.)

Continue reading “Rishi Rich’s New Maths Problem”

What Should I Write About, What Should You Write About?

With a new year beginning, and with Do the Maths having struck a bit of a chord, it seems a good time to think about doing more than shooting stupid ACARA fish in ACARA’s stupid barrel. I’m open to suggestions for this blog, of what I might write about, and of what you might write about.

Continue reading “What Should I Write About, What Should You Write About?”

Arena: Do the Maths

A few months ago, I asked blog readers for suggestions for what had gone wrong with mathematics education. Plenty of discussion ensued, and it was very enlightening.

The purpose of that blog post was to help with the writing of an article. Guy Rundle had suggested that I write something on mathematics education for the magazine Arena. The article has now appeared (and in print). The introduction to the article is below and the full article can be read at Arena. Thank you to Guy for the opportunity, thank you all for your suggestions, and thank you to my secret crack team of hypercritical editors. (I have no idea of the significance of Arena’s graphic, but that’s cool, and it’s cool.)


Continue reading “Arena: Do the Maths”

The Summary Execution of Initial Teachers

This one is way, way old. But still, we felt something we should write something.

Early last year, Alan Tudge – remember him? – launched a review into Initial Teacher Education.We also wrote about the review, here. The final report was released early year, as we announced here. We had no time then to carefully read the Report, although some commenters had things to say. We’ve since read the report pretty thoroughly. It was thrilling, a real page-turner. Continue reading “The Summary Execution of Initial Teachers”

Lividing the Dream

This one is a little old now, and it’s about a Who Cares blog post by Who Cares people. Nonetheless, it has gotten up our nose and we’re going to sneeze the damn thing out. Stand back.

Last month, the Grattan Institute released another of their education reports: Ending the Lesson Lottery. It was no big deal, saying in ninety pages what would have been better said in two, and the EduTsars are not listening anyway. Still a quick read suggested the report was largely sensible, and any plus in this world is a plus.  Continue reading “Lividing the Dream”

All of These Things Are Not Like the Other

NSW education has just launched a series of books for parents of little kids, “stories of inventors, innovators and trailblazers”. In principle, the idea seems optimistic and pushy, but sure, give it a go if you want. In practice, the five “mavericks” so far chosen are, um, something: Grace Hopper,* Katherine Johnson, Sophie Germain,** Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. Continue reading “All of These Things Are Not Like the Other”