It’s nice to see that I still have readers, although it’s quite some time since I wrote any new posts. I’m splitting my time between this project, research, teaching and book writing so there has not been much time. But I’m giving a talk on the subject of humanistic mathematics at a conference on engineering educational programs in Umeå, Sweden, next week. The text to that talk is in Swedish though. My report from the US trip will appear in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics next year.

I guess I should write something soon about how I try to teach humanistically in standard calculus courses.

Skidmore is a great school to study at and Saratoga Springs a really nice small town!

Anders

]]>I have really enjoyed reading your posts, although I differ slightly on the value of teaching colleges.

]]>I stumbled upon your blog while I was looking for some materials on a class at Bennington College that was called Why Math? I have been a high school math and science teacher and currently work at the University of Oregon helping to connect the university science and math departments to high schools. One of the key issues I have been looking at is the motivation of students in math and science. I found this post a really compelling example of an authentic problem that could be used even for high school students, although the focus would be on geometry rather than calculus.

Thanks for your blog.

Jeff Paules

(By the way, my daughter currently attends Skidmore College.)

]]>The time constraint is of course a real issue. When I was teaching, I quickly found out that trying to do justice to each student was simply not realistic within the time budget. I also observed that some professors (not specifically in mathematics) would pose challenging problems to students but then give everybody an “A” rather than actually grading their work because they simply didn’t have the time. That to me is one of the worst things one can do to students. The whole point of testing in my view is to get an honest assessment of the student’s level of competence, AND to give them the chance to learn from their mistakes. That takes time, and certainly from a humanist perspective, the answer would be to provide sufficient time and resources (i. e. teaching assistants), rather than to dumb down the testing procedure.

]]>Yes, I think you are right. All the philosophies have their merits, and I think from a pedagogical point of view, the important thing is not to decide which one is the best, but rather discuss them with students when appropriate, to make the subject more humanistic.

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