Home > Quote of the Week > Archive List > Detail

<< Prev 2/12/2012 Next >>



Mathematics suffers much, but most of all from its teachers. As a result of bad pedagogy--and I mean the kind often judged best by administrative pedagogues--the appearance of an algebraic formula, a geometrical figure, or an innocent set of symbols reduces the reader to an unbecoming attitude of hypocritical humility.

A great many sometime students of mathematics try to persuade themselves that they haven't mathematical minds, when as a matter of fact they have only had nonmathematical teachers.

Mathematics is not what most teachers of mathematics teach. They, with the good intention of conveying what they themselves have only as a skill of manipulation, have unconsciously worked hocus-pocus on their pupils. They have repeated and illustrated opaque formulae, sometimes to the admiration, but almost always to the bewilderment, of their students.

Scott Buchanan
Poetry and Mathematics, 1929