Coming to Terms With Terms

I have been thinking a lot lately about how language gets in the way of communication and progress when different people attach different meanings to the same words. The same term can provoke opposite reactions in different people. Think about “environmentalist”, or “Republican”. Your personal responses to these words might even be somewhat emotional, revealing your bias. Even language that on the surface seems neutral may not be, leading to misunderstandings and conflict. I know what I mean by XYZ, what do you mean? Before we can address issues in public education or specifically, in math education, we will need to find some common ground and agree about a few things.

Here’s a really short and incomplete list:

What does it mean to be successful in math? In school? In education?
What does does it mean to learn? To know? To understand?
What does it mean to be a successful educator? A successful school?

Comments are open.  Let’s start talking.


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