Dressierte Affen mit Abitur

Hier ein Tweet des „Neuen Deutschland“ zu einem Leistungsvergleich deutscher Schulen:

Absolut symptomatisch, daß auch in gebildeten Kreisen Mathematik mit Rechnen gleichgesetzt wird. Man kann nur jedem, der auch nur ganz von ferne mit Mathematik und/oder Bildung zu tun hat, ganz dringend ans Herz legen, Lockhart’s Lament zu lesen. Eine kleine Kostprobe:

The main problem with school mathematics is that there are no problems. Oh, I know what passes for problems in math classes, these insipid “exercises.” “Here is a type of problem. Here is how to solve it. Yes, it will be on the test. Do exercises 1-35 odd for homework.” What a sad way to learn mathematics: to be a trained chimpanzee.

But a problem, a genuine honest-to-goodness natural human question—that’s another thing. How long is the diagonal of a cube? Do prime numbers keep going on forever? Is infinity a number? How many ways can I symmetrically tile a surface? The history of mathe­matics is the history of mankind’s engagement with questions like these, not the mindless regurgitation of formulas and algorithms (together with contrived exercises designed to make use of them).

A good problem is something you don’t know how to solve. That’s what makes it a good puzzle, and a good opportunity. A good problem does not just sit there in isolation, but serves as a springboard to other interesting questions. A triangle takes up half its box. What about a pyramid inside its three-dimensional box? Can we handle this problem in a similar way?

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