[Numeracy 166] Re: Application vs. Theory

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gerirose2 gerirose2 at aol.com
Mon Feb 15 13:39:59 EST 2010

I very often find meself in agreement with and as a math educator I
once again second his remarks. geri a-n

From my iPhone

On Feb 15, 2010, at 1:33 AM, Michael Gyori <tesolmichael at yahoo.com>

> Greetings Brooke and all,


> Well, I'm glad this discussion is continuing and that we're not

> leaving it to the realm of agreement to disagree! And yes, I'll

> agree that absolute values do have a positive connotation, precisely

> because they have basis in empirically observable concrete and

> material reality. That was not, however, the thrust of my message

> your are responding to.


> I'm only going to provide a short answer at this point. I am not a

> mathemetician and have not studied math beyond portions of the

> British advanced levels, except in its application of studies in

> logic, test design, and applied linguistic research. Pedagogically,

> I espouse the principle of understanding and avoid mastery of rules

> without trying to instill some measure of understanding of those

> very rules, that is, the reasoning that underlies them. This

> espousal extends to learners with the most basic levels of numeracy.

> Scaffolding is key here. I always strive for the "ah ha" moments,

> and remain convinced that much more learning can and does take place

> than we might expect. I've yet to work students whose dislike of

> math has not decreased in working with them. I consider the language-

> math connection to be a crucial one, because, ultimately, I view

> math as a language in its own right.


> Rather than responding further to your comments at this time, I

> remain curious what other subscribers to this list might believe and

> hopeful that more contributions to this discussion lie ahead.


> Michael



> Michael A. Gyori


> Maui International Language School


> www.mauilanguage.com




> From: "Denney, Brooke" <denneyb at cowley.edu>

> To: numeracy at nifl.gov

> Sent: Sun, February 14, 2010 7:05:04 PM

> Subject: [Numeracy 160] Application vs. Theory


> Michael:


> Your comments leave me feeling as a mathematician curious of how you

> came about your “logic”. To use the term absolute value to mean,

> “one that knows no positives or negatives”, is a paradox. That

> is, if you are talking about the mathematical operation known as abs

> olute value (which does, have a positive connotation). Additionally

> , your comments about negative numbers astonish me and my fellow mat

> hematician colleagues. Is it important to know the mathematical pro

> of that states the logic of why two negatives when multiplied togeth

> er yield a positive result? Or, is it okay for people to just “know

> the rule”? Several researchers have stated that adult numeracy le

> arners need to be taught within realistic contexts; otherwise educat

> ors jeopardize de-motivating learners to learn. Do not misinterpret

> my response, I love to learn about math theory and logic but withou

> t application the concepts are often nonrepresentational.


> I understand why you would choose to utilize the Cartesian

> Coordinate Plane to discuss all real numbers. Nevertheless, many

> students would consider that lesson mindless prattle if they did not

> have a prior frame of reference to build their cognitive skills

> from. Conversely, many students do know what it means to be below

> sea level or overdrawn in their bank account (and the like). Their

> frame of reference allows them to relate to the idea of negatives

> better. Albeit true, it is subjective in nature but isn’t all mathe

> matics subjective?


> I leave it to the discussion board participants, is it better for

> numeracy students or developmental math students to understand the

> application of mathematics or learn about the theory that lies

> underneath?


> Brooke Denney

> Math & Numeracy Moderator


> ----------------------------------------------------

> National Institute for Literacy

> Math & Numeracy discussion list

> Numeracy at nifl.gov

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