A Mathematician's Lament

A Mathematician's Lament

Book - 2009
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Perseus Publishing

“One of the best critiques of current mathematics education I have ever seen.”—Keith Devlin, math columnist on NPR’s Morning Edition

A brilliant research mathematician who has devoted his career to teaching kids reveals math to be creative and beautiful and rejects standard anxiety-producing teaching methods. Witty and accessible, Paul Lockhart’s controversial approach will provoke spirited debate among educators and parents alike and it will alter the way we think about math forever.

Paul Lockhart, has taught mathematics at Brown University and UC Santa Cruz. Since 2000, he has dedicated himself to K-12 level students at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York.


A manifesto for freeing math from the drudgery of traditional teaching by a brilliant mathematician.


Book News
In this manifesto Lockhart explains that mathematics is in fact an art and that by reducing it to a set of facts and procedures to be memorized modern education methods have left nothing but a boring shell; comparable to studying music only with notation and theory, or painting through color swatches and paint-by-numbers. He contends that most students have only experienced math with the depth, beauty, imagination, and history removed and suggests we approach the subject from a playful, intuitive and aesthetic angle. Very well written, this book will be of equal interest to teachers, students, parents, mathematicians and general readers. Lockhart has taught mathematics at Brown U and UC Santa Cruz and currently teaches K-12 students in New York. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781934137178
1934137170
Characteristics: 140 p. : ill. ; 19 cm

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ehm_chen
May 05, 2015

SImilar to the comment below, I found his tone over-the-top and on the ranting side, and that's even though I fully agree with much of what he has to say. Still, has some really fascinating mock lessons in there (I learned why a triangle's area is height x base / 2 in one simple diagram!). I just wish it came with more of the same to better demonstrate exactly how he suggests we spark kids' interest in math.

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lawrence80
Aug 14, 2012

A passionate critic on the North American mathematics school system. It took me a little bit to get used to his seemingly angry tone but ultimately, he brings up valid points.

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