Robin Gottlieb (Department of Mathematics)
Freshman Seminar 40P 4 credits (spring term) Enrollment: Limited to 12 or 15?
What are the goals of mathematics education at the middle and high school level, and how do these goals impact our evaluation of the success or failure of math education in America? Why does math education at these levels matter? What societal structures (historic, economic, political, cultural) impact mathematics education? How does math education in turn impact societal structures? We will also investigate differences in math education across different venues, both in the U.S. and internationally. As the world changes, how do the goals of mathematics education change, and in what ways? Readings in preparation for weekly discussions will include a combination of newspaper articles, articles by experts in the field and findings of large-scale national and international studies. This will help us make sense of the debate in the press, inside the mathematics and math education communities, and amongst policymakers about the state of mathematics education and what should be done about it. Students are expected to be active participants in seminar discussions. On occasion, students will (in pairs or small groups) be responsible for reporting out on different points of view and will debate issues from the perspective of a particular viewpoint (not necessarily their own) before staking out their own perspectives.
Note: This is not a mathematics seminar and has no prerequisites. A special invitation is extended to students not planning to concentrate in math.