Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | February 14, 2021

Why is math in school boring? Is it the curriculum’s blind spot?

My answer to a question on Quora: Why is math in school boring? Is it the curriculum’s blind spot?

My answer:

  • Math in school is boring because mathematics education lost its purpose and meaning.

Lockdowns during this pandemic laid bare the true social and economic role of schools:

  • Schools are storage rooms for children — to free their parents’ time for paid employment.
  • Mathematics in schools is boring because teaching mathematics is reduced to coaching children to pass exams.
  • Exams dominate mathematics education because they are loved by employers: exam grades provide very cheep, for employers, way to select future employees, compliant and obedient. And mathematics exams could be made hard.
  • From the point of view of an employer, a good grade in exciting and very interesting subject is of less value than the same grade in an excruciatingly boring subject — because the latter requires much more effort, I would even say, strong will, to get.
  • You know, office work is painfully boring; it is advisable to be preparing for that from childhood. Being boring, school mathematics helps to achieve that.

As simple as that.


Responses

  1. Perfectly accurate description. Unfortunately, it cannot be easly translated into practical steps: the Goodhart’s law is too powerful.


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