Author Topic: Whats the haps?

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Dincrest

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20040 on: November 18, 2017, 06:29:02 AM »


@Electricb7 The kicker is that "Business and Consumer Math" and other living-skills type math classes are reserved for students with some sort of special needs IEP or something.  I think a Business and Consumer Math class should be mandatory over more theoretical math courses.  Pythagorean Theorems don't do you much good when you're trying to navigate getting a mortgage for your first home or something.

Exactly.
Ive always preached that code/programming, engineering, credit and finances should be mandatory classes in schools. Tech me how to do any of these things over History, or some unorthodox math class and you will most likely have increased my chances off success.

I would respectfully disagree with you on history/social studies.  I think it's important to learn that because history often repeats itself (look at how much we compare Trumps rise to power to that of past demagogues) and learning where we've come from and why things are how they are is important.  What's the point of living in a country if we never learn that country's constitution?  However, I do think civics (practical aspects of citizenship, how the government works, more pertinent "social studies" stuff) needs to make a big return to the social studies curriculum (which, to this day, most people just think of as "dates and wars.")  I had to pass a civics test as part of my US citizenship process and it's said that 1 in 3 Americans would flunk it. 

I love history and am fascinated by it, but I learned more on my own as an adult than I did in school.  But the stuff that stuck with me was the civics stuff I learned in the 4th grade, like the 3 branches of government. 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 06:32:57 AM by Dincrest »
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ironmage

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20041 on: November 18, 2017, 10:43:30 AM »
The kicker is that "Business and Consumer Math" and other living-skills type math classes are reserved for students with some sort of special needs IEP or something.  I think a Business and Consumer Math class should be mandatory over more theoretical math courses.  Pythagorean Theorems don't do you much good when you're trying to navigate getting a mortgage for your first home or something.

If a student can't apply the Pythagorean theorem, I doubt they're going to be able to handle compound interest.  Nothing in day-to-day finances requires anything more than basic algebra, and most of it should be covered by fourth-grade arithmetic.

The point of teaching "theoretical" math classes is to develop mental muscle, and the capability to solve general problems.  If your students are getting out of grade 9 unable to figure out how to sum up their expenses, then your system is broken; adding a special class on the subject isn't going to help.

By analogy, it's like suggesting that because students are going to spend vastly more time walking than playing basketball, the P.E. curriculum should focus on walking.  Now, maybe proper walking technique should be taught in P.E., but, as with household finances, I really can't imagine there being more than one or two classes worth of material to cover.

Exactly.
Ive always preached that code/programming, engineering, credit and finances should be mandatory classes in schools. Tech me how to do any of these things over History, or some unorthodox math class and you will most likely have increased my chances off success.

Introductory engineering is basically calculus and physics.  Programming is sequential application of algebra.  Pretty much any math class that employs symbolic reasoning will serve as a good start for those fields, even if the practical application for that particular type of math isn't immediately apparent.

Electricb7

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20042 on: November 18, 2017, 04:46:30 PM »
The kicker is that "Business and Consumer Math" and other living-skills type math classes are reserved for students with some sort of special needs IEP or something.  I think a Business and Consumer Math class should be mandatory over more theoretical math courses.  Pythagorean Theorems don't do you much good when you're trying to navigate getting a mortgage for your first home or something.

If a student can't apply the Pythagorean theorem, I doubt they're going to be able to handle compound interest.  Nothing in day-to-day finances requires anything more than basic algebra, and most of it should be covered by fourth-grade arithmetic.

The point of teaching "theoretical" math classes is to develop mental muscle, and the capability to solve general problems.  If your students are getting out of grade 9 unable to figure out how to sum up their expenses, then your system is broken; adding a special class on the subject isn't going to help.

By analogy, it's like suggesting that because students are going to spend vastly more time walking than playing basketball, the P.E. curriculum should focus on walking.  Now, maybe proper walking technique should be taught in P.E., but, as with household finances, I really can't imagine there being more than one or two classes worth of material to cover.

Exactly.
Ive always preached that code/programming, engineering, credit and finances should be mandatory classes in schools. Tech me how to do any of these things over History, or some unorthodox math class and you will most likely have increased my chances off success.

Introductory engineering is basically calculus and physics.  Programming is sequential application of algebra.  Pretty much any math class that employs symbolic reasoning will serve as a good start for those fields, even if the practical application for that particular type of math isn't immediately apparent.

True but the formula is setup for failure. If I knew that I would need programming skills in the future for writing games or getting any kind of job utilizing computers other than blogging I would have obviously payed more attention or showed more interest in math. But children aren't really interested in numbers and equations that donít do anything. Itís just working your brain but not utilizing the purpose of knowledge witch is to implement it in a meaningful way. And the same goes for engineering. Kids should be supplied with raspberry pie kits or some form of hands on learning material at an early age to better introduce them to the purposes of the applied math. If you show me that I can make Mario or Zelda I'm easily hooked. No need for begging me to do my homework. If you just ask me to do math homework with no foreseeable payoff, stimulation, or reward I'm just going to play JRPG's all day.



Rucks

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20043 on: November 18, 2017, 05:12:47 PM »
^ the "payoff" is learning how to deal with being forced to complete tasks you have little to no interest in.  Otherwise known as like 70% of "work".

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ironmage

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20044 on: November 18, 2017, 09:46:19 PM »
If I knew that I would need programming skills in the future for writing games or getting any kind of job utilizing computers other than blogging I would have obviously payed more attention or showed more interest in math. But children aren't really interested in numbers and equations that donít do anything. Itís just working your brain but not utilizing the purpose of knowledge witch is to implement it in a meaningful way. And the same goes for engineering. Kids should be supplied with raspberry pie kits or some form of hands on learning material at an early age to better introduce them to the purposes of the applied math. If you show me that I can make Mario or Zelda I'm easily hooked. No need for begging me to do my homework. If you just ask me to do math homework with no foreseeable payoff, stimulation, or reward I'm just going to play JRPG's all day.

I think we have a cultural gap here.  The kind of people who are successful in technical fields generally either like math in its own right, or have the motivation and self-discipline to buckle down and study.  Even if a subject doesn't have any foreseeable application to your future career, bad marks are unpleasant enough.

You didn't know that you needed programming skills to get involved in writing games?  Well, you know now.  You have access to the internet, which has more than enough resources to let you teach yourself programming.  The only thing limiting you is your desire.

I taught myself to program when I was eight.  Not because I wanted to write games, but because as a geekish child I was naturally attracted to electronics.  There was no internet back then to help.  The computer was older than I was, had 16KB* of RAM, and locked up randomly.  Barefoot, in the snow.  Uphill.  Both ways.

*Not a typo.

Dincrest

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20045 on: November 18, 2017, 10:42:38 PM »
When I was taking theoretical math classes in high school, my question was always, "When the hell am I ever going to use this in life?"  I would have benefited more from a Business/Consumer math class that taught me about balancing checkbooks, financing the purchase of a car, applying for a mortgage, credit cards/the importance of maintaining good credit, basically applied mathematics that I can apply to the real world.  I wish I had more of that.  Business/Consumer Math is considered a special-ed math course, yet it's something I think all students would benefit from. 

I never had intentions of being an engineer (which is where calculus would have been useful in real life).  Math was always my poorest subject.  I tended to get Cs and Ds in math despite working twice as hard as the other kids (I may have had an undiagnosed learning disability) whereas I could get As in Language Arts and World Language like it was nothing.  Yet, if I was learning math in a way that made more concrete sense to me, that I could apply to the real world and truly hang my hat on, it would have clicked with me.  The only time I ever used a polar equation was in Precalc class and I've never multiplied cosine times theta since then. 

I'm not a big fan of the blanket "one size fits all" curricula.  To say that "ALL children will learn geometry" like many of these blanket initiatives proclaim is ludicrous.  When you have students with traumatic brain injuries who can barely write their own names without tracing them, do you expect them to learn and comprehend 10th grade geometry at a 10th grade pace?  No.  Those students need life skills, and math is practical- a lot of it is going over counting money so they don't get taken advantage of.  And because of their brain trauma, you sometimes have to go over the same lessons 1000 times over because they have limited powers of retention due to their injuries. 
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Electricb7

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20046 on: November 19, 2017, 12:04:38 AM »
If I knew that I would need programming skills in the future for writing games or getting any kind of job utilizing computers other than blogging I would have obviously payed more attention or showed more interest in math. But children aren't really interested in numbers and equations that donít do anything. Itís just working your brain but not utilizing the purpose of knowledge witch is to implement it in a meaningful way. And the same goes for engineering. Kids should be supplied with raspberry pie kits or some form of hands on learning material at an early age to better introduce them to the purposes of the applied math. If you show me that I can make Mario or Zelda I'm easily hooked. No need for begging me to do my homework. If you just ask me to do math homework with no foreseeable payoff, stimulation, or reward I'm just going to play JRPG's all day.

I think we have a cultural gap here.  The kind of people who are successful in technical fields generally either like math in its own right, or have the motivation and self-discipline to buckle down and study.  Even if a subject doesn't have any foreseeable application to your future career, bad marks are unpleasant enough.

You didn't know that you needed programming skills to get involved in writing games?  Well, you know now.  You have access to the internet, which has more than enough resources to let you teach yourself programming.  The only thing limiting you is your desire.

I taught myself to program when I was eight.  Not because I wanted to write games, but because as a geekish child I was naturally attracted to electronics.  There was no internet back then to help.  The computer was older than I was, had 16KB* of RAM, and locked up randomly.  Barefoot, in the snow.  Uphill.  Both ways.

*Not a typo.
ehh Its not as simple as drive or desire but I understand what you are saying.
I spend all my free time drawing and learning Photoshop. I put forth he effort but life gets int he way. There are moments when times are hard and you can just shrug stuff off and other times you wont even be able to do the thing you love because shit hits the fan. The later is most of my life.

Tomara

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20047 on: November 19, 2017, 04:39:53 AM »
I loved theoretical maths and took advanced maths classes in high school. Since graduation I've used maybe 5% of what I learned in real life, but those classes did break up my school days nicely. I mean, I get to solve fun puzzles and get showered in praise for doing so? Sign me up.

I did follow some subjects that featured much more practical maths though, especially Management & Organisation (which was, ironically, taught by someone named Marx). It focused mostly on running a business, but there was certainly stuff in there that could be used to manage personal finances.

That was at VWO level, by the way. Over half of dutch students are on the VMBO track, and subjects there are a lot more practical. VWO prepares for university, VMBO prepares for life. (Well, actually, VMBO prepares for vocational college, and vocational college courses also feature some life skills courses.) There is HAVO as well, which lies somewhere in the middle of VWO and VMBO. And VMBO, HAVO and VWO all have different tracks as well. It's complicated, but it does leave some room for individuality.

Speaking of struggles, mine was language related. I wasn't all that great at speaking in primary school (I didn't get many chances to do so and my increasingly low self-esteem wasn't helping either). Teachers thought I was slow because of that and put me with children with learning disabilities when we needed to do group work and such. Those kids tended to be really loud and that made me even more quiet. They didn't find out until our first big standardised test that I was reading at a much higher level than average and was ahead in all other subjects as well.

Seultoria

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20048 on: November 19, 2017, 06:24:44 AM »
Your parents are the ones who should be teaching you good habits about spending, saving, credit cards, etc. I have great credit because I pay off my card every month. I save as much as possible. Even when I got my first part-time job, my dad told me to save half of the paycheck and the rest could be spent on whatever I want.

I don't see the point in having teachers teach a subject like this, especially when most of them probably went to a private college and have $100K in student loans.

Rucks

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20049 on: November 19, 2017, 07:16:53 AM »
^um because not every child is a lucky as you were and don't have parents that give a toss about them or their learning habits.

And the vast majority of American college graduates go to public school (and still have insane student loan debt) so I'm not sure where you pulled that junk statistic from.

I often wonder what it's like having a world view that's not even a little bit based on reality ...

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Tomara

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20050 on: November 19, 2017, 10:12:13 AM »
^um because not every child is a lucky as you were and don't have parents that give a toss about them or their learning habits.

Exactly. Not to mention that there lots of adults who never had the opportunity/ability to gain that knowledge themselves and thus can't pass it on to their children.

One of the lectures in my arsenal is about personal finances, and if everyone was learning that from their parents, there wouldn't be a demand for lectures like that anime conventions.

Dincrest

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20051 on: November 19, 2017, 10:42:35 AM »
And if I am to look at things like the credit crunch crisis, the subprime mortgage fallout, and all that good stuff, I'd venture to guess that a significant percentage of the parent generation wasn't very good at that "business/consumer math" thing either and it's blind leading the blind at best, if there's any teaching being done at all. 

And I look at my late father.  Genius chemical engineer, probably the most brilliant man I'll ever know.  But his financial savvy left much to be desired.  He grew up in a very wealthy family, but through a Murphy's Law domino effect of bad business deals with shady people, the family lost everything.  All of a sudden, he had nothing and he had never been acclimated to being without.  That's why he totally fell victim to the "buy now, pay later" paradigm of the credit crisis, because he could never come to grips with having caviar tastes on a grilled cheese budget. 

I have a naturally common sense financial savvy, but the system is complicated.  Financing a car, mortgaging a home, interest rates on credit cards, making heads/tails of the most sensible insurances to get, financing your higher education... it's challenging stuff for anybody, whether you have a PhD or a GED.  Yeah, we expect "normal" people to get it or be taught that, but how many really are taught it well, if at all?  For every one of me with excellent credit, there are tens of thousands who have piss poor credit and could not get approved for diddly squat.  They were never taught properly if at all.  So having one yearlong business/consumer math class isn't going to hurt anything.  It will actually help. 

Plus, again, special needs students NEED to be taught business/consumer math, especially so that they can advocate for themselves regarding how their SSI is utilized.  Things that come naturally to us neurotypicals do not come naturally to those with developmental delays or whatnot.  So it's more important to teach them financial acumen over y=mx +b.  Mom and dad won't be around forever, so it's important to make sure they have the tools to be independent.  And an important tool is business/consumer math. 

I'm fine with school math requirements having theoretical components like an algebra class and a geometry class, but the third year math requirement should be applied business/consumer math so you don't fail at life.

Three cheers for civics and business/consumer math!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 10:54:22 AM by Dincrest »
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Kevadu

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20052 on: November 19, 2017, 12:27:36 PM »
Maybe some people do need personal finance classes.  I never felt like I had a shortage of that kind of information personally, but I'm sure there are some who don't.  However I object to the notion that it would be a math class...

Frankly the actual mathematics involved in personal finance is pretty trivial.  There is a reason you're seeing the subject covered in special ed.  Stuff like "get a credit card early to start building your credit history" (which is what started this discussion I believe) isn't exactly mathematics.  It's just information about how the system works.

Look, I remember learning how to calculate compound interest in middle school.  We spent a couple of days on it because if you understand exponentiation that's all that is required.  And compound interest is probably the most mathematically complex thing you will ever do in personal finance.  Most of it is simple arithmetic.

If my high school math classes wasted time on that kind of trivial stuff I think I would have felt a mixture of boredom and being insulted by the simplicity of it all.  Give me geometric proofs over that any day.

(note: I went on to get a PhD in physics so I might not be normal...)

Rucks

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20053 on: November 19, 2017, 12:38:26 PM »
^geometric proofs are why I decided to go with liberal arts in college and grad school...

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ironmage

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Re: Whats the haps?
« Reply #20054 on: November 19, 2017, 01:03:18 PM »
Looks like Kevadu ninja'ed some of the points I wanted to make.  Anyway:
When I was taking theoretical math classes in high school, my question was always, "When the hell am I ever going to use this in life?"
...
Math was always my poorest subject.  I tended to get Cs and Ds in math despite working twice as hard as the other kids (I may have had an undiagnosed learning disability) whereas I could get As in Language Arts and World Language like it was nothing.
I would claim that mental exercise is useful in its own right, and if your math classes made you work hard, they served a purpose.  I find it odd that people think nothing of stepping on a treadmill or pumping iron, but somehow resent the mental equivalent.  I mean, bench-pressing a barbell or doing pushups are pretty useless skills in isolation, but I don't think anyone would claim that good health and physical strength are useless in the real world.

But I ate math classes like candy, and it's easy for someone who likes weight-lifting to preach the benefits of exercise.

Quote
Business/Consumer Math is considered a special-ed math course, yet it's something I think all students would benefit from. 

...

I'm not a big fan of the blanket "one size fits all" curricula.  To say that "ALL children will learn geometry" like many of these blanket initiatives proclaim is ludicrous.
I think those viewpoints are inconsistent.  You can't object to the "one size fits all" approach, and then say that everyone would benefit from a remedial class.  Some students may need special education in certain topics, but it does not follow that it should be provided to everyone.  I maintain that most students should learn enough mathematics to handle personal finances through basic coursework.  Balancing a chequebook (does anyone still need to do that?) should be manageable by anyone who passed fourth grade arithmetic.

But I'm inherently prejudiced against this sort of thing.  In my third year of electrical engineering, there was a mandatory "Economics for Engineers" class.  It was generally considered to be a joke.  When you're eating Z-transforms for breakfast and linear algebra for lunch, having someone from the College of Commerce spend a whole week explaining compound interest is just... embarrassing.  I'm sure someone thought it was going to be useful, but it mostly just wasted everyone's time.

On the other hand, the elective I took in contract law was pretty interesting (not to mention practically applicable).  Adding something like that to the highschool curriculum would be reasonable.  I mean, you're entering into a contract every time you buy a doughnut...
Quote
So having one yearlong business/consumer math class isn't going to hurt anything.  It will actually help. 
How much time does it take to teach a normal student "don't spend more than you earn", and "don't borrow what you can't pay off?"  A couple days?  A week?  I don't understand how you can make up a whole course out of that.  Once you've covered the future value of money, aren't you basically done?

If you made me take a whole class in "consumer math", instead of letting me take calculus, it would absolutely have put me at a disadvantage.

I'm not convinced that education will solve what is fundamentally a cultural problem.  Someone who can see their credit card balance rising month after month must know what that means.  If there's no stigma against personal debt, but people want to buy "the new shiny" to keep up with their peers, then of course they're going to ramp up their bills.