A "Modest Proposal" Research Base

San Marcos, TX - January 18, 2013

From the January 2013 issue of the Notices of the American Math Societytmp/fckeditor/d190a0bf-6184-11e2-8922-fdb2f3e5010c/modest_proposal.pdf

"Jonathan Swift’s original “A Modest Proposal” [1] was a thought-provoking satire designed to help deal with a food famine and its root causes of overpopulation. Schoenfeld’s “Modest Proposal” [2] is designed to deal with a different kind of famine, namely, an intellectual famine brought about by not incorporating real sense making into the teaching of mathematics. We extend Schoenfeld’s proposal by suggesting that all students can do mathematics at a high level if properly challenged and engaged, and provide a collection of research questions to examine this proposition. Evidence abounds that students are having great difficulties in learning algebra [6]. We realize algebra is not a synonym for “sense making”, and indeed algebra can be taught in a procedural way that does not encourage sense making at all. The reason that we focus on algebra as a proxy for sense making is that, when properly taught, algebraic reasoning provides students a powerful tool for explaining ideas rigorously and precisely..."

Download the full article here, tmp/fckeditor/d190a0bf-6184-11e2-8922-fdb2f3e5010c/modest_proposal.pdf