Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making Sense

Last Thursday we had a wonderful discussion in my Math/Science class about the way tools help us make sense of mathematical ideas. We've been reading this remarkable book all semester with each student being responsible for presenting a part of each chapter in a whole class discussion.

I really like this book because it's quite inexpensive and it really challenges my students, and me, to think about the meanings we attach to the math we have learned through our educational experiences so far. I like to think of Education in general as the process of making sense of what we learn. Each time we have new experiences we either make sense of them based on what we already know or we reorganize what we already know based on the new things we are learning. I think this constant interaction we have with experience is the essence of learning. As teachers we need to make sure that students' experiences are rich and interesting so that the process of making sense is fostered and kept alive.

What is currently difficult to make sense of is what is going on with the mid-term elections. Making sense relies on access to the facts, respect for the truth and having a somewhat logical approach to life. Politicians seem to be playing hard and fast with the facts on both, or rather, all sides while there is clearly a lack of respect for the the truth as well as the opposition. Listening to endless character assassinations and accusations makes it almost impossible to make sense of a particular candidate's real message and ideas for the future.

I do need to correct an inaccuracy reported a couple of blogs back. My brother Ali did wear a watch for many years before he became a teacher and he does have a good sense of time.

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