Can Students Do Their Homework Anymore?

A couple months ago, we had a post on homework, and the research of some educations clowns arguing that homework can “lead to the compounding of intergenerational negative mathematical dispositions and identities”. And so on. This included parents whining about the incomprehensibility of their Year 3 kids’ homework. Whatever. Back on Planet Earth, where Year 3 homework is comprehensible or, preferably, non-existent, there are questions of what homework is and what it should be. To this end, frequent commenter Terry Mills has asked,

I would like to know what sort of homework policies are used in other schools, particularly, but not only, for mathematics.

So, how does your school mandate or constrain homework? And although Terry doesn’t ask, how should your school mandate or constrain homework? How much do teachers pay attention to any such rules?

And, here’s your song:

Continue reading “Can Students Do Their Homework Anymore?”

Estimating a Censorious Twit

About a week ago, eSafety censor Julie Inman Grant appeared before the Senate Environment and Communications Committee. The most notable (= most nauseating) exchanges are compiled in the video below, and Inman Grant’s entire performance is here (14:21 – 16:51). When watching, it is worth keeping in mind Inman Grant’s latest act of heavy-handed censorship, and Inman Grant’s recent chickening out of a Musk-brawl, which Inman Grant defends in a convenient brown-nosing interview. Previous posts on this censorious asshole are here and here.

Continue reading “Estimating a Censorious Twit”

90 Degrees and 60 Minutes

Last week, and a year late, 60 Minutes got to the story of the two black American kids who came up with a “trigonometric proof” of Pythagoras’s theorem. Their report was sweet, manipulative and absurd. The two girls were charming, their mathematics teacher and their school more generally seemed cultured and intelligent, the 60 Minutes reporter was a beaming idiot, and the girls’ impressive and unexplained achievement was blown out of proportion by a factor of about a thousand. There was not a mathematician in sight. Continue reading “90 Degrees and 60 Minutes”

Good Book Burning and Bad Book Burning

The whole of Australia is pissed right now, with a Sydney council that decided to ban books on same sex parenting. Fine. But when librarians team up with a frickin’ Aboriginal clown to burn books somehow everybody cheers.

Evidently, some book burners are more equal than others. Continue reading “Good Book Burning and Bad Book Burning”

AMSI’s Undisciplined Message on Enrolments

AMSI put out a media release yesterday, announcing their Groundhog Day Participation Report Card on school mathematics enrolments. It’s probably no spoiler to give the spoiler: enrolments suck. Which brings to mind a Two Ronnies joke, revamped for this occasion:

“What time does the Specialist Mathematics class start?”

“What time can you get here?” Continue reading “AMSI’s Undisciplined Message on Enrolments”

A Non-Post on Indigenous Mathematics

A few weeks ago, ANU Science published a puff piece:

Maths has no borders: Professor Rowena Ball brings Indigenous mathematics to ANU

Professor Ball is an ANU mathematician and the article was a promotion of Mathematics Without Borders, a “research and teaching initiative” led by Ball. In particular, the article promoted a special topics course at ANU created and taught by Ball and fellow ANU mathematician, Hongzhang Xu, the course being “based on the Mathematics without Borders research program”. The article is bad in all the ways one can imagine.

Continue reading “A Non-Post on Indigenous Mathematics”

Explicit Objections

The New South Wales Department of Education is cajoling, and possibly commanding, teachers to engage in “explicit teaching”. What does that mean? According to the Department,

Explicit teaching practices involve teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover that information themselves.

Yeah, what dinosaurs. Continue reading “Explicit Objections”

A Couple Quick Words on the Palestinian Protests

(1) Of course the protests are antisemitic.

(2) People are allowed to be antisemitic assholes.

Regarding (1), non-Jews should be aware of what the overwhelming majority of Jews are seeing. Regarding (2), Jews should accept that they have to tolerate assholeness, just like everyone else. Continue reading “A Couple Quick Words on the Palestinian Protests”

My Previous Post on Julie Inman Grant

A (friendly)* lawyer advised me that I should delete my previous post on Censorship Commissar, Julie Inman Grant. I question the concerns, but he is a lawyer and I am not, so I have deleted the post. I believe it is safe to say I think Inman Grant is extraordinarily dangerous, and I am appalled by her heavy-handed and self-righteous censorship. My previous posts on Inman Grant are here, here and here. Continue reading “My Previous Post on Julie Inman Grant”

Can’t Do My Homework Anymore

It’s not a clever title but it leads into a great Fleetwood Mac song, guaranteeing one worthwhile feature of the post:

On with the post, which concerns a study conducted by academics at the University of South Australia and Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University, reported in their 2023 paper, Mathematics homework and the potential compounding of educational disadvantage. The study was announced a month ago in a UniSA media release, Numbers do not add up for maths homework, and was accompanied by the subsequent Educator report, Maths homework causing more harm than good – study. This all sounded like nonsense, so I took a quick look at the paper. I gagged, considered the work required to even skim the nonsense and decided to ignore it. Then frequent commenter Dr. Mike lobbed a Science Alert report at us, Math Homework Can End Up Doing More Harm Than Good, Study Shows. A third temptingly silly headline made me ponder further but I still decided to ignore it. Then then on the week-end Greg Ashman wrote a little about the study in his weekly curios. At which point I decided “to Hell with it”, and here we are. Continue reading “Can’t Do My Homework Anymore”