where trouble was needed

April 23, 2010

Freedom to learn: on math and life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 2:17 am

Freedom to Learn
The roles of play and curiosity as foundations for learning
by Peter Gray
Psychology Today, April 15, 2010, Child Development

Comment

So far we have had a similar experience with our daughter who *loves* math and has loved numbers and shapes since she was very young. I was never sure how long this path that has led us into wonderful discoveries all these years, would continue.

In an otherwise excellent article, the only line that disappointed me was the one about ” … algebra, geometry, and trigonometry that they will never again use as long as they live.”

I resist the idea that we need to know in advance when we will need to use math (or anything) in order to be motivated to learn it. What about learning for the sake of learning? Why doubt that these realms of math, just like the arithmetic that so delights young children, can be equally beautiful and inspiring? And useful? Even if we do not consciously “use” these particular math skills, I believe that having learned them puts us on a stronger footing when dealing with people trying to sell us various things – be it food, medicine, stocks, wars, etc – esp when they try to back up their claims with evidence. We should not be fooled.

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