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Category:Educational, Cartoons & Animation
Tags:Tom, new, math,, Lehrer,
Submitted:Albuquerque Halsey
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Comment count is 14
Raggamuffin - 2018-04-25
"understanding what you're doing is more important than getting the right answer!"

-A true statement held up as a joke and ridiculed into the ground by the generation that would go on slowly demolish the American public education system.
Maggot Brain - 2018-04-25
Why I'm home schooling the kids I'll never have.

GravidWithHate - 2018-04-25
Tom Lehrer (IIRC) has a postgraduate degree in mathematics and had lectured in the subject when he wrote "New Math". So he probably had a slightly different perspective than the one you're imputing to him.

Also, it really isn't true. If you understand what you're doing, you get to the right answer, or at least an answer that is coherent and defensible.

Raggamuffin - 2018-04-25
I quoted him, if that's what you mean. His Math credentials don't mean he knows or cares about early math education. New math was an effort to actually teach kids what math actually is instead of just torturing them with pointless arithmetic puzzles for 13 straight years. It was soundly rejected by the generation of Americans who either couldn't or wouldn't understand it's motivations. That generation (the crowd you hear) would go on to vote Reagan, and slowly defund, and deprofessionalize public education.

Old_Zircon - 2018-04-27
I'm with Raggamuffin here.

crasspm - 2018-04-25
so if you learn things one way, any other way is stupid and wrong and should be laughed at?
Born in the RSR - 2018-04-26
Without researching any of this I'd like to tell a semi-related personal story:

In gradeschool I wouldn't memorize the multiplication and division tables, what I did was do everything in my head by breaking down the numbers into simpler calculations, a thing I still do today.

That was the WRONG way, and I would get slapped around by my teachers for not insta-delivering the correct answers like it was a fucking quick-time-event.

I can't pretend I'm good at math or anything, but I do feel like my way was better because doing it my head meant I was actually doing the math instead of blindly memorizing, also, the slaps didn't help with my academic performances.
Bisekrankas - 2018-04-26
"You have to memorize this because you will not always hav a calculator with you for your whole life"

I wont?? Well, fuck you miss Lambert

Bisekrankas - 2018-04-26
ops wasnt meant as a reply. But yes had the same experience. Understanding was never the point, the point was to be the fastest through the book.

Old_Zircon - 2018-04-27
RSR, same here.

Braze - 2018-04-26
The new math in this song is the old math now
Common core, the newest math, is actually pretty good, probably better from a comprehension perspective than how I was taught
Breaking things into chunks is the faster and easier way to do math in your head, which is still a useful skill that I use as a scientist in a pretty math-intensive field
cognitivedissonance - 2018-04-26
The majority of everything I was forced to learn about math was useless garbage that existed just to torture the brains of youth. Everything after geometry was pointless. The obsession with graphing and the details around chemical equations was not only useless but infuriating to me as a teenager, and I was never taught how to do anything with money, how to make recipe substations or how to simply and efficiently do quick figures in my head. I hated the way math was taught, I hated the endless drills, I hated how tests were designed not to estimate my understanding of the topic but how to trick me with word games, and the insistence on calculus as the end goal of the procedure.

I hated math, and because I hated math I hated science.
Old_Zircon - 2018-04-27
The only math I really wish I had gotten more and better training in is calculus. Calculus is the most useful shit ever.

Algebra is the most abstract and least practical and should be saved for later. A better approach to teaching math would be to start with things like geometry and calculus that actually apply to concrete, real world phenomena anyone can understand if it's taught in an applied context, and then work down to the more granular, abstract stuff like linear algebra from there.

The way math is taught now is like learning advanced linguistic theory for years before you learn to actually read.

Mister Yuck - 2018-04-27
You really need basic algebra before calculus though. You can't do calculus without understanding equations and variables.

I had a pretty great math education in high school, at least, I think I did based on what I know compared to people I work with. What I'd have liked is a lot more practical connection between the math problems and the real world. It wasn't until I took a history of science class in college that I really understood what algebra was and why it was invented and by then I'd forgotten most of it. I took calculus at the same time I took physics, and while I also forgot most of that, I at least understand what calculus is good for and where to look if I encountered a problem I needed it for.

It's hard nut to crack though. Most math teachers teach with abstract problem sets because they have never encountered the math they are teaching in anything other than abstract problem sets.

The guy who wrote this song is an asshole.

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