Is There a 'Right' Way to Learn Math?
Jane Kitchen
2K9

It is always refreshing to hear from people who can present a view of mathematics that is open and exciting. I define mathematics as “the exploration of how items work and connect” — items may include abstract numbers, symbols, patterns and concepts as well as “things”. Considered this way maths becomes a world of discovery for the curious, an outlet for those who are asking “why”. Combined with an appreciation of philosophy, maths is an aid for those who can hold competing positions in their head simultaneously, and can seek practical resolution between narrow ideologies and brutal reality — I think the modern term is “nuance”.

Mathematics is a “core” discipline which means to me that it should be “prized” in a society that seeks to progress (for me the other core disciplines are “philosophy” and “expression”, which should be equally open to exploration also).

I would sound a note of caution. There are those for whom the world of mathematics will not be exciting and who will not be adept at it (or who will be victims of narrow teaching and undue emphasis on arithmetic and processes — as useful as they may be). We should avoid to criticising and pushing them to the extent (as happens too often) that leads to discouragement; which can infect their efforts in other areas of endeavour for which they do have abilities.