The layperson's response to mathematics is often that of desperation. When we tell people our occupation, do we more often than not hear about their unpleasant experiences with mathematics. They often tell us, "I studied algebra in high school and haven't used it since!" Indeed, that may be true. However, we can reply, "How many times has algebra been used on you?" We are all restricted, and protected, by the formulas of mathematics. In the mysterious metaphors we have agreed to cal mathematics, all creation is involved, from the symbol-happy logician down to the cunning geometers, the bees. When I trust myself to a ladder, I lean upon mathematics. Every baby is a formula-baby, for when we say that its growth is a function of its nourishment, what are we citing but a case of calculus?
There are no nonmathematical minds, but only nonmathematical teachers. The masses who draw back in fear at the sound of the word "mathematics" are often merely suffering from a bad persistent case of early pedagogy. I believe one of the first steps in motivating the unmotivated is in getting them to realize that We, the teachers, are NOT the enemy.
Smith, Karl J., "Mathematical Reflections: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" (1987). ACMS Conference Proceedings 1987. 8.
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