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comment by kantos
kantos  ·  125 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Make Your Daughter Practice Math. She’ll Thank You Later.

Re-reading the conclusion, I can see that. Though I'd argue making it fun as a precursor to rote work is essential to making math bearable to begin with. The only way I got through physics is because my professor had bombass drawing skills and would make light of a lot of "force diagrams." It made the tedious work grounded in something I looked back fondly on.

On: only some people use it... Yeah. Best I can offer when my kids ask me when they will ever use it is by my nerding out about some everyday phenomena and hoping I can direct it in an inspiring way.

I think I'm bhaving trouble connecting your last two sentences. If you're willing to clarify, then I'm all for knowing where the 'want' disconnected with the 'understanding.'




oyster  ·  124 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Okay I'm struggling to explain this better but I'm going to try. Most kids pick something like doctor, engineer or astronaut when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Somewhere down the road a lot decide they can't do that and that they're better suited for something else. I'm sure what the article talks about explains why that happens for some people but I think it's a very small piece of a larger problem that is a fragile sense of self.

I don't know how old the kids you teach are but I'm guessing they haven't decided what they'll do with their lives yet, next time they ask when they will ever use the math try telling them that they'll need it when they're an engineer building something, or insert any math heavy career doing what they do. I can pretty much guarantee some kid will say they that isn't the career for them based off their barely formed sense of self, at that point I would ask them who they do see in that career, it's very possible they don't realize they have these natural talents.

When I was like 17 working in a garden center one of the guys approached me to ask what I wanted him to do. He was in his late 20's, studying something at University and I wasn't in a position of authority so he didn't have to follow me he made a choice too. I had been leading for months before this moment when I kind of froze for a second as the actual manager was also standing there with me and I realized that these people had been relying on me. I've been a leader in a number of jobs since then and I've only just decided that a job were I lead people is fulfilling for me so I should pursue that type of job. Only now, and I've been doing it for years without even realizing for like minimum wage. It took this long to realize that the moment when I was 17 and all the times after that weren't flukes. There were so many time that I thought about a career in STEM and was really excited about it. School was easy but that wasn't the problem, the problem was that I just didn't see myself in that position. I decided to study architecture because I wanted to do something that had an impact but I went to college instead of University because I like to minimize my contributions. I went to college for massage therapy which is still very science heavy because I decided University to become a physio therapist wasn't for me. None of this had to do with how well I did in school and how well I knew I could do. I wanted to do something that mattered but I was pushed back by a sense that it wasn't for me, that I didn't belong and would be found out as an imposter if I tried.

As much as practicing math is the answer for some people, asking young people why they don't see themselves in a STEM career or asking them to describe the person they do see in those careers would probably get a few kids thinking. They might start realizing that they can check off a few boxes on the list of traits people who belong in STEM careers have. This is similar to what they hope to achieve with better representation of women and minorities in STEM careers. The goal is that people can see themselves in the career but I think getting young people to really question why they don't see themselves in those careers helps in more ways.

kantos  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    next time they ask when they will ever use the math try telling them that ... insert any math heavy career doing what they do.

I like this a lot. I have K-12, all depending on the day. Most who ask "when will I ever use this" is late middle school to early high school.

    As much as practicing math is the answer for some people, asking young people why they don't see themselves in a STEM career or asking them to describe the person they do see in those careers would probably get a few kids thinking. They might start realizing that they can check off a few boxes on the list of traits people who belong in STEM careers have. This is similar to what they hope to achieve with better representation of women and minorities in STEM careers. The goal is that people can see themselves in the career but I think getting young people to really question why they don't see themselves in those careers helps in more ways.

This was a great explanation and example to clarify your reasoning for your suggestion above as well. Thanks for indulging in my question.

What I'm getting from this is the recommended answer to the question be used as a validation of their skills should they choose to go down a math heavy line of work, they can look back on experiences like the work they have now as positive reinforcements for how they can achieve such a career.