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Spiritual Why Would a Math Teacher Punish a Child for Saying 5 x 3 = 15?

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by Ishna, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. Ishna

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    May 9, 2006
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    Like most people, I balked then snickered at the opening of this article:

    What’s 5 x 3?
    How about 4 x 6?
    You might think those are simple questions, but a third grader had points taken off on an exam recently after giving the answers 15 and 24, respectively.
    “But those are the right answers,” you say. And a lot of people on Reddit would agree with you.
    So what’s going on?​

    I recommend you read the article, because it's not only educational, but a lesson in humility.

    It also tells us that the thought process, or the method used, can sometimes be more important than the outcome.

    A few years ago I was learning tai chi. I was so frustrated in the beginning, because the first three or four hours worth of lessons (which I was paying for) were just footsteps and maybe two move routines. We spent ages just walking up and down the hall in the footstep pattern. I even started to express that frustration by getting short with the teacher and rushing the exercises to show her 'I got it, lets move on'.

    By chance one evening, one of those martial arts movies from the 80's/90's was on TV. It showed a student experiencing exactly the same frustration I was with my tai chi teacher. And in the movie, the sensei explained why, and then I understood.

    When I went back to my class from then on, it was with much more humility and respect. And as I made my way through the lessons, I realised she wasn't wrong to drill those simple foot moves into us, because when you're moving your arms, hands, body weight and breath in complex forms a foot in the wrong place can ruin the whole thing, and the last thing you want to be thinking about while flailing your arms everywhere is where to put your feet.

    So the maths article was another reminder to me to hold tight to humility and pay attention to my teachers with respect, and to pay close attention to my thought processes.
    • Like Like x 1
    #1 Ishna, Oct 24, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
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  3. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur
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    Oct 13, 2011
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    Right. But as someone who taught mathematics for many years, I can tell you that students often don't see it that way. I taught adults, so I rarely had to contend with parents, but there were a few irate husbands who weren't about to be bettered by a mere woman.
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