If our goal is to broaden and deepen students’ awareness and understanding of mathematics, we advance the idea that engaging students with what we metaphorically call the personality of math. That is, we think that students who engage with the math’s (1) human champions, (2) with its history and philosophy, and (3) with the nature of its problems and inferential challenges, are more likely to have a positive attitude toward math that will encourage greater learning.
Paul A. Wagner, Ph.D., is the author of over 130 publications including nine books. He is chair of the Department of Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Houston.
Frank Fair, Ph.D., has a number of publications in a variety of academic journals, and has co-authored a number of books, including one on innovation in quality management and one on team creativity in business. Two other recent publications that are especially
Chap. 1 Indoctrination and Genuine Math Education
Chap. 2 The Personality of Math
Chap. 3 The Human Side of Mathematical Personality
Chap. 4 Two Takes on Recent History: (1) Pure vs. Applied Mathematicians and (2) Women in Mathematics
Chap. 5 Math Problems and the Personality of Math
Chap. 6 Educating for Understanding the Personality of Math
Chap. 7 Introducing Students to Mathematics
About the Authors
Wagner and Fair have written a well-researched, thoughtful, and insightful call to mathematics educators everywhere. Drawing on an impressive list of diverse sources in pure mathematics, mathematics education, philosophy, anthropology, history, and psychology, the authors make a clear and compelling argument for a fundamental rethinking of how educators approach mathematics. The persuasive writing and the tantalizing diversity of sources are sure to engage any curious reader, making the book an excellent text for use in undergraduate courses on methods of teaching mathematics. The thorough bibliography also makes this a superb resource for graduate study. Additionally, researchers in mathematics education will find this work useful for the foundations of a study in furthering mathematics education reform efforts. Highly recommended. General readers, advanced undergraduates through faculty, and professionals.
Wagner and Fair attempt no less than to revolutionize math teachers' conception of not just how they teach but what they teach: that their students shall remain ambitious dreamers rather than become accountants.
This book is a welcome antidote to the view that mathematics is a dull chore. Rich with anecdotes and examples from its history and philosophy it illustrates the excitement, color and beauty of mathematics. Anyone can experience this, and the aim is to show how the tedium of school mathematics can be turned into a compelling and awe-inspiring adventure of ideas.
Mathematics, a way of thinking, has a personality (traits, patterns, etc.) that provides learning goals for the teacher and learner. This personality, which makes mathematics unique, should be at the forefront of mathematics education. This book will help the reader to learn mathematics as a language, art, science, and tool in the context of its personality. From personal experience as a high school mathematics teacher, I know students learn better from such a holistic approach.
This bright book is a plea for uplifting math education by inspiring students to join “The Great Conversation,” the community of thinkers who have explored mathematics to find truths. The authors reject complacency and rote learning by instead advocating mindful free inquiry. Their enthusiasm for mathematics is contagious and commendable.