Talk:Morris Kline
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Talk:Morris Kline
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Problems with the "Mathematics education" section

That section is clearly and unwarrantedly biased against Morris Kline and his critique of mathematics education. For example, the sentence:

"Though Kline began, in 1956, with a call to action, once the mobilization was in motion he turned critic."

implies that Kline changed his views and implies him a hypocrite. However, the facts put forward in the article are only that he made a "call to action" by criticizing the 1950's educational system, and that he disliked the New Math movement; isn't there the obvious possibility that he continously had a third opinion (namely that put forward in "Why Johnny Can't Add").

There are many other similar examples, for example:

  • "The book recapitulates the debates from Mathematics Teacher, with Kline conceding some progress"
  • "The tirade touched a nerve, and changes started to happen. But then Kline switched to being a critic of some of the changes."
  • "By 1966 Kline yielded to the pressure to propose something positive with his eight page high school plan"

However, the whole structure and air of the section reeks of antipathy. Kline's views are put forward only very slightly, while long citations of his critics are there in full (critics, who, we should keep in mind, were all proponents of the New Math movement).

A different issue: the section should discuss long-term effects of his teaching philosophies, and what and where they have had an influence on current teaching methods. Surely there is some. This seems much more important than details on what bickering there were back in the 60s.

A third issue: the "main article", Mathematics Education, contains only very little details which this article contains. Isn't that wrong use of "main article"? Shouldn't it be in the "See also"-page."

TO DO: 1. Mine interview for citations & rewrite mathematical pedagogy section & 2. Add above and relevant articles to cited references

1. Interview, by Gerald L. Alexanderson, in Mathematical people: profiles and interviews, edited by Donald J. Albers & Gerald L. Alexanderson: http://books.google.com/books?id=huybRADziC0C&pg=PA173&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

2. Relevant articles (cited by above authoritative source): The Mathematics Teacher:

  1. Mathematics Texts and Teachers v 49 (1956) pp 162-172
  2. The Ancients vs. the Moderns v 51 (1958) pp 418-427
  3. A Proposal for the High School Mathematics Curriculum v 59 (1966) pp 322-330

American Mathematical Monthly: Logic Versus Pegagogy v 77 (1970) pp 264-282. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2317710 and at http://math.buffalostate.edu/~MED600/signednumbrs/Kline.pdf

-- Paulscrawl (talk) 05:35, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

More relevant secondary sources -- lots of book reviews of Kline's work -- to mine for inline citations at References page for Morris Kline bio at MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive (bio now in this article's References section); direct link at References for Morris Kline

-- Paulscrawl (talk) 20:58, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

What he said

I agree, the whole section on "Critique of mathematics education" is clearly an interested account which is of little or no interest to the general reader looking for an overview of Kline's work. It could be aptly replaced by the single paragraph on Kline's criticism of "New Math" which can be found in the Wiki on that topic.

Doing so would have the double benefit of not distracting from what is most important about Kline's work and not discussed at all beyond a list of references: his genuinely wonderful popularizations of topics in mathematics as related to their cultural and historical context.


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