Monday, October 24, 2022

Remote Schooling has hurt Math Learning

 Is it true that in any sequence
of thirty words in The Washington Post
at least two of the words will start with the same letter?

      Today's Washington Post has a story about recent declines in learning-assessment scores, especially in math -- both morale and persistence fell as students were remote from the watchful encouragement of in-person teachers.  

     Back in this blog posting in January, 2011, I offered poetic views of four of my important teachers.  Here is a repeat of one of those -- its lines remember Dr. Miriam C. Ayer  (d.1972), one of my mathematics professors at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1960s.  Even though I found it hard to like Ayer, I learned a great deal from her "Introduction to Topology" class.

     Nervous in class and tough
     to follow—she made errors
     on the blackboard yet demanded
     we write perfect mathematics
     in perfect English sentences. This was not
     an East Coast finishing school, and I hoped
     she’d be lenient with the Asian students
     even as fear made me work infinitely hard
     on papers that she gave back bright
     with red-ink from her difficult hand.

     No one before or since has read my words
     so carefully.

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