The Plastic Brain

Mathematics can be useful, but it doesn’t have to be.

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To paraphrase Thomas Tymoczko: Mathematics must not necessarily be useful to be interesting and worthy of study. Many maths teachers insist on stressing its utility, even when it has none. As a result, they often hide from their students the excitement and intrinsic interest of mathematics: they hide it behind a facade of utility. It’s rather like trying to awaken people to the joy of mountain climbing by trying to convince them that someday they might have to climb over a mountain, en route to somewhere else.

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Author: Rogan Tinsley

Biology, science and maths teacher with a PhD in Neuroscience and passion for education.

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