Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Math Is HAR-R-R-D!

Remember a few years ago when Mattel got hit for having a talking Barbie whine that "Math is hard"? It was considered fairly sexist, and if memory serves, Mattel changed the wording.

On the drive home today I heard a commercial for National University, which I'll paraphrase: "Math should be the hardest thing he deals with. Get your masters degree in educational psychology from National University."

Those people train teachers, and they're feeding the stereotype that math is hard?

How about this: "Going to real college is hard. Come to National University instead."

Good job, idiots.


Matthew K. Tabor said...

"How about this: "Going to real college is hard. Come to National University instead.""


Cameron said...

It's ridiculous. Math probably requires the most focus, because you have to know all of the rules. Once you work them out though, it's easy! I'm much more worried about subjective subjects that require you to follow your teacher's guidelines which definitely aren't necessarily "universal." Math just works everywhere!

Joanne Jacobs said...

Back in my newspaper days, I wrote a column defending Barbie's comment. Math is hard for many people. That doesn't mean they can't learn it but they will have to work at it. Better to acknowledge the challenge than to pretend that writing about how you feel about math is the equivalent of learning math.

Anecdotally, I had a wonderful fourth-grade teacher who pushed us to learn different number systems (Roman, Egyptian, base 2, base 12) and eventually got us through sixth-grade math. I remember getting up at 5 am to finish my homework -- and we weren't supposed to have homework.

I ran into him when I was at Stanford as an undergrad; he was getting a doctorate in education. He was coming out of a statistics class, which he was flunking. Part of me was sympathetic; the other part was thinking, "You made us do sixth grade math in fourth grade!"