Through the Education Lens

Math Heaven and Hell

CJ Westerberg, October 15, 2012 3:18 AM


Video Below 

DSC_0163-1_2.jpgby C.J. Westerberg

A must-read is the unfolding real-life drama about Stanford professor, Dr. Jo Boaler, who is mired in and who has become a casualty of the math wars.  On her Stanford blog, Boaler comes out smokin' - offering more than just a glimpse into the world of higher education when it comes to research, turfiness, and what may be at stake in "When Academic Disagreement Becomes Harassment and Persecution":

Honest academic debate lies at the core of good scholarship. But what happens when, under the guise of academic freedom, people distort the truth in order to promote their position and discredit someone's evidence? I have suffered serious intellectual persecution for a number of years and decided it is now time to reveal the details.

I am a Stanford University professor and researcher of mathematics education. My research focuses on the most effective learning environments for students learning mathematics and has won awards in both England and the United States. My different studies have shown that students who engage actively in their mathematics learning, rather than simply practicing procedures, achieve at higher levels.

If you're not really interested in the goings on in this higher education debate, the real implications ultimately affect how "the math wars debate" filters down to what and how students learn . . . . 

Just check out Jo Boaler in action with this 5 minute video clip below illustrating her preferred incorporation of the inquiry-based, hands-on, visual learning method for teaching math - - - if you can get over the white bean-bag chairs and all-white setting (that alone would put me in a kind of math heaven). 
What do you think?       

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