South Africa: Maths 'Reformists' Keep Shooting for the Moon, Missing the Mark and Messing With Kids' Heads


For decades, children and teachers have been used as maths guinea pigs. I cannot think of any other discipline that has been abused as much as this subject. Numerous surveys place maths as a child's most hated subject worldwide - but there is no reason it should be so intensely disliked.

I have heard so many theories about maths that I don't know where I stand anymore. At school we learnt that there were two definite hemispheres in the brain, one side was for mathematical thinking and the other for creative activity.

Chris Smith, the "Naked Scientist", an academic at Cambridge University for whom I have the greatest respect, is well supported by his colleagues when he asserts that there are two hemispheres, but maths and creativity are drawn from many parts of the brain and dominance of the left half over the other half is a myth. Great!

Now, what about all those children who have for years been doing left- or right-brain activities to improve their maths ability or creativity? If this assertion is correct, and I have no doubt that it is, then it can be assumed that all children should be able to do maths. Inasmuch...

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