# Mathematics Weblog

## Mathematics *is* different

Thursday 11 January 2007 at 9:38 pm | In Articles | Post Comment
Two blog posts have caught my eye. The first is Time Lag in Learning Mathematics which talks about the time it takes for a student to learn mathematics followed by the observation that one cannot be said to understand a topic until one can apply it. This often only occurs in the year after one has learnt the subject which is why I often tell my university students that it will always be true that *Last year’s course was easy, this year’s is hard and next year’s is impossible*.

A very important point that Mathematics under the Microscope makes is that anyone teaching mathematics should have a qualification at least one level higher than that being taught.

It is so hard to convince non-mathematicians that teaching and learning mathematics is very different from most other subjects. This partly accounts for the appalling state of teacher training and observation in the UK and why I absolutely refused to be judged by unqualified observers.

In the second post the secret life of numbers gives a quote from the book it is discussing which gives a better alternative to a question I often ask *Why are people happy to admit to being innumerate but prefer to hide their illiteracy?* PS Mathematics under the Microscope has an interesting response to this.

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