Thursday, May 18, 2017

Haim's Challenge

In chapters passed, I tried to dispute Haim's Challenge, which he re-introduced on math-teach again recently:
Thank you for the opportunity to re-introduce "Haim's Challenge",
"There are no important open questions in math pedagogy."

(The Challenge is to prove the premise wrong by pointing to even one long-term, ongoing examination of open questions in math pedagogy, by any group of people, anywhere. The context is K-12 mathematics.)
I'd bring up A&B modules, T&E modules, clearly referencing Synergetics for its pedagogical implications.  Of course the K-12 curriculum should be adjusted, here and there!
Of course I do not discuss math pedagogy, for the simple reason that there is nothing to discuss. Or, so I believe.

I believe:
(1) We know everything there is to know about school mathematics (i.e., K-12 math), and
(2) We know everything there is to know about how to teach it.

So, the only really important question is why don't the schools do what we know they should do to most effectively teach math to the most students?

The answer can only be found by exploring the politics of education, not the mechanics of long division or anything like that. We know the mechanics of long division. What is less clear is why the schools don't teach it well, if at all.
I realize now that actions speak louder than words, and Haim well explains many phenomena I observe in the ambient culture.

Whether I agree with Haim's challenge (more like a claim) or not is immaterial.  My sphere of influence is definitely limited.

People treat mathematics as a static aspect of their environment.

Hell would freeze over before "tetravolumes" would rise to the level of attracting the attention of grade school math teachers, let alone prove share-worthy, with coming generations.

I get it.  That's certainly not a decision I'm comfortable with, which accounts for my somewhat non-mainstream ethnicity.