Welcome to the New World Order, Where Everybody “Gets Math”

As we all know, the world ended recently (December 21, 2012).  Being mathematicians and scientists, we will use the more specific statement:  After December 21, 2012 (on the typical Western calendar), human life on Earth changed in a basic way.  I think we’d all agree with this statement as being so obvious a statement that it might seem trivial.

However, what is not so obvious is the information I have recently acquired concerning the nature of this change.  Through the sophisticated work of quarks, photons, and Marvin the Martian, everybody will now ‘get math’.  We will no longer have students ask ‘when will I use this’, because they will understand the math and appreciate the innate value of this understanding.  No longer will we have students say “I’ve always been terrible at math”, though a few might have a nagging feeling that they weren’t always really good at math.

In this new world order, math will not filter students from any field of study or life work.  This will not mean that all students will have STEM majors; this is okay … we need some people who are not geeks or nerds about math & science, who choose to learn the truly hard stuff that normal people do not get (like arts, language, and psychology).

We will, of course, have a difficult period of adjustment.  In math classes, we are accustomed to spending a great deal of energy on motivation and confidence; it will take time for us to change, and we can just hope that our students will be patient with us as we struggle with their competence with math.

The only serious point in this post is this:

Sometimes, we expect most students to have trouble understanding math; perhaps we would be better served by a possibly baseless optimism that most students can “get math”.

“Go math in 2013!!”

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