Learning math

This presenter argues that today’s spoon-fed textbook curriculum is possibly the WORST way to “teach math”.


The nicely sculpted exercises produce students who can squeak by on a test consisting of identical nicely sculpted exercises, but who retain little long-term and can’t reason their way out of a paper lunch bag.

Educationally “it’s the equivalent of turning on Two-and-a-Half men and calling it a day”.

Which is likely another reason OTB chess tournaments are turning into G/60s. No patient problem-solvers left, just people who want to crank out the formula and be done with it.


4 thoughts on “Learning math

  1. I have no doubt that there is compelling evidence today’s math curriculum sucks. But, really, Derek, how do you associate the rise of G/60 tournaments with “cranking out the formula?” I don’t see the connection.

    Consider this: As a first-order approximation (even maybe more than that), finding a good chess move requires two different modes of thought. The first mode, in non-critical, more quiescent positions, requires pattern recognition over calculation; the second mode, necessary in critical, more tactical positions, requires calculation over pattern recognition. As Heisman and Rowson have established, no extra time above some threshold period of time will improve one’s pattern recognition (i.e. planning). Yes, calculation could improve with using extra time, but there are no formulas used to calculate. Calculation is merely the application of one’s combined positional and tactical pattern recognition.

    Please elaborate where ‘plug-and-chug’ comes into the equation (no pun intended).


  2. Poor wording on my part, but if you watch the video, he argues that the outcome of good math training should be “patient problem-solvers.” Which would suggest some affinity for longer time controls, at least some of the time.

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