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Professor: Fractions should be scrapped(e-c)practice [Copy link] 中文

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Professor: Fractions should be scrapped
教授:”分数“(数学)当取消

By Maureen Milford, USA TODAY

PHILADELPHIA — A few years ago, Dennis DeTurck, an award-winning professor of mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, stood at an outdoor podium on campus and proclaimed, "Down with fractions!"

"Fractions have had their day, being useful for by-hand calculation," DeTurck said as part of a 60-second lecture series. "But in this digital age, they're as obsolete as Roman numerals are."

The speech started a firestorm, particularly after the university posted it online.

  费城--几年前,宾夕法尼亚州立大学..数学教授站在校园室外讲台上宣称:”取消分数!“

  DeTurck教授在60秒系列讲座中称:”分数有过辉煌,作为笔头计算是有用的,但是,在如今数字时代,它们就和罗马数字一样的过时了”

  这段讲话引发了潮水般的批评,特别在被学校放到网上后。

"There were blogs and rants, and there were some critical e-mails," said DeTurck, who is now dean of the college of arts and sciences at Penn. "They'd always boil down to: 'What would we do in cooking and carpentry?' "

  现任宾夕法尼亚州艺术和科学学院院长的DeTurck说:“有人写博客、有人斥责,还有人发来一些批评的电子邮件,归根结底就是:“在做烹饪和木工时,我们该怎么办?”


DeTurck is stirring the pot again, this time in a book scheduled to be published this year. Not only does he favor the teaching of decimals over fractions to elementary school students, he's also taking on long division, the calculation of square roots and by-hand multiplication of long numbers.

"Mathematicians are always questioning the axioms. Everybody knows that questioning those often results in the most substantial gains in terms of progress," he says.

  DeTurck 又一次开始“兴风作浪”了。 这一次,是在一本预定今年将出版的书中。不仅,他比起给小学生们教分数来,自己更偏爱教小数,而且这次,他还对“长除法”,平方根计算,以及手工做串数字的乘法发起“挑战”。

  他说:“数学家们总要去质疑公理。每个人都知道对它们质疑常常会带来巨大的进步”

Questioning the wisdom of teaching fractions to young students doesn't compute with people such as George Andrews, a professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University and president-elect of the American Mathematical Society. "All of this is absurd," Andrews said. "No wonder mathematical achievements in the country are so abysmal.

"Arithmetic is the basic skill. If children do not know arithmetic, they can't go on to algebra, which leads to calculus. From there you go on to other things," Andrews said. "It's fine to talk about it, but this is not a good pedagogy."

  在宾夕法尼亚州州立大学的数学教授兼美国数学协会候任主席George Andrews这类人眼里看来质疑要不要给儿童教授分数是没有道理的一件事。Andrews说:“整个都是荒谬,难怪这个国家的数学成就如此糟糕”

  Andrews说:“算术是一项基本技能。如果孩子们不懂得它,便无法继续去学习代数,而代数接下来的是积分。会”牵一发而动全身,说说当然无所谓,但是那可不是一个好的教学法”

Others see value in both fractions and decimals. To Janine Remillard, associate professor of education at Penn, the decimal system is "incredibly powerful." And fractions can be a powerful steppingstone to understanding decimals, she says.

"Fractions, if taught well — and that's a huge caveat — can actually help kids understand the value of the size of the pieces," Remillard says.

  也有人认为分数和小数都有价值。 对于宾夕法尼亚州州立大学教育学副教授Janine Remillard来说,小数是”无以伦比的强大“;她说:分数是理解小数时侯的一个有力助手。

  Remillard说:”分数,如果教好了话--这是大前提--,那么就能帮助孩子理解数字大小的意义“

DeTurck does not want to abolish the teaching of fractions and long division altogether. He believes fractions are important for high-level mathematics and scientific research. But it could be that the study of fractions should be delayed until it can be understood, perhaps after a student learns calculus, he said. Long division has its uses, too, but maybe it doesn't need to be taught as intensely.

Penn State mathematician Andrews says he believes DeTurck's ideas will "unfortunately" gain traction because of the misguided belief that math education can somehow be made easy:

"Math is hard. The idea that somehow we're going to make math just fun is just a dream."

  DeTurck并不想把分数和长除从教育中彻底废除;他认为分数对于高层数学和科学研究来说是重要的。他说,但是,可以让分数学习延迟到能被孩子理解的时候再教授,也许是在学过了微积分之后。长除也有其通途,但是也许不需要那么强调。

  数学家Andrews说他认为因为存在认为数学教育可以通过某个方式来简单化的误解,所以DeTurck将”不幸地“拥有吸引力,;

  Andrews说:”数学是一门难学科。能使数学完全变成一项乐趣那只是一个梦“

Milford reports for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.

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