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on Math Appeal
I thought the Professor Benjamin’s suggestion to aim math more towards statistics was absolutely brilliant, and I couldn’t agree more. I am a woman who was always found math quite easy and a little bit interesting as a game, but beyond that rather pointless. My life experience has born that out: in the 38 years since I graduated from college, calculus been completely irrelevant. I almost never need to use anything more than a little simple algebra and some geometry.
More grounding in statistics, though, would have been very useful. I had several teachers whose eyes would light up when they began to talk about statistics, how powerful it is and how frequently misunderstood and misrepresented. But they only had time to give us a taste of it before getting on with the rest of the curriculum; it was always an extracurricular side topic.
Finally I took a course in it, unfortunately presented in such a dry, rote manner that I promptly forgot it all. I regret that each time I want to follow up on some news story by looking into the original research, which is so easily available now on the internet. So often what is reported in the media is quite a distortion of the real results of a study, and the study itself may or may not be a good one.
By the way, I generally avoid using calculators unless I have a lot of repetitive calculating to do. Even simple arithmetic skills can be forgotten if you never use them. But if you use them even occasionally, they are always there for you, and problems like the one Benjamin presented are easy.
posted 2 years, 5 months ago
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