Congress, Eugenia, Schubert discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts
This can be applied to people people's behavior and i'm really glad you said versus isn't the right word because they're not in opposition to each other it's ways of describing things and it can be applied to all level so it can be applied to people it can be applied to society structures family interactions and even apply to mathematics itself and the way we present mathematics and i think that typical math education presents math in an ingress if way because it presents it as facts that we have to learn. It's very much about authority. An authority figure a teacher tells you what you're supposed to do. And then you're supposed to obey those rules and then we have tests and exams which are also very aggressive. It's not a collaborative of about speed. It's about running people. And it's fundamentally about filtering people out saying who good enough and who isn't good enough. And i consider those to be ingress if contra sticks that therefore cutoff congress if people congress if people who are more interested in connections relationships exploration and something that's that's less black and white than than right answers a eugenia about me correcting myself in the middle of a sentence of frequent listeners. To this show. We'll we'll be familiar with that behavior. Because i'm just a i'm a relentless self editor In real here but the part of that is is that i think i in fact. Perhaps let's apply. Let's apply this to to this conversation that we should always be testing our own theories. Whether it's a question that i'm asking or an answer that i'm receiving so part i i would think that if i can just stretch. This analogy a little bit. Use it you know constructing new mathematical proof. Part of what you have to show is is what it is not so. I'm curious about this approach that you're using applying category theory to how we think about gender. I'm i'm wondering if what is it. Do you think that it's reviewing that other. Theories or ways of thinking about gender haven't already revealed what it has revealed to me. Is that the assumptions. The underlying assumptions. We've made about. Who will be good at math on bright and i think many research nothing dishes notice deep down because we basically all know. That exams are terrible. Way of predicting future research success because they test something else entirely in fact exams. Don't test anything at all except your ability to do that to cure exam on that particular day and not ready transferable skill in any way whereas research is about many things about curiosity. It's about thinking it's about as you say testing incorrect in your own theory and it's really importantly about self doubt and that's why i do that. Competence is good. Well it's not a very good idea because confidence means that people think things are obvious and that comes back to the the responses to pull grace's questions where people said. Oh you're so these things so obvious. If he thinks things are obviously easy in math means. You're missing something because nothing is really obvious. And the reason that math grows all the time is because conditions are never quite satisfied with any answers to anything and so we probe further and further to get deeper and deeper on says. Because we're not ever quite satisfied with what we've done and so in a way. I think that self-doubt is a is possibly more important attribute for doing mathematics. Van self confidence and you might say yes. A balance is important so it's important not to be consumed by yourself donald but that is where the environment can come in to help us and that the car environment is not very supportive so many people have discovered that if they ask those searching questions they get told this stupid was if we supported people more and encouraged them then they wouldn't have to have self confidence because we would give them confidence and in a supportive environment. I think that self confidence is really much less important and then we can support the people who have good self doubt who have the potential to be better mathematicians and so house has this way of looking at the world. Has it changed like your your day to day practice. Yes it has. And there's all this all started. Because i was trying to understand my own expensive math and also help more people because it makes me so sad that so many people traumatized by math and a half mafia which often then results in people saying they hate math. And i love math so it makes me sad to see it misunderstood and hated by people and i think that it really is misunderstood and so i think really hard about why people are put off and i think it's because they have not been sufficiently supported to two on sir to to ask the questions they wanna ask exploring the ways they want to explore and see the creativity and the point of mathematics rather than just being told that wrong because they didn't get this particular answer right. Well somebody else did it foster and someone is competing against them to show how clever they are and so with my art students. I've been thinking so hot about how to create a congress's educational environments eugenia hold on just a second. We just have to take a quick break. Here and people are hearing a little bit of piano in the background. That's you playing schubert. We'll be right back. This is on point dan. This is on point meghna chakrabarti. Today we are speaking with eugenia chang. She is author of x. Plus y. a mathematicians manifesto for thinking. We have a excerpt of at on point. Radio dot org. Eugenie is a mathematician and educator. Concert pianist you heard her play a little bit of schubert at the end of the last segment. She's also scientist in residence at the school of the art institute of chicago and eugenia before the break. I'm sorry that. I had to interrupt you there but you were talking about how your rethinking of gender or applying mathematical concepts to how we think about gender how that's changed. How you work with your students at the at the art institute. Yes it gives me a way to frame how i think about what i'm going to teach how i teach it because one my stuck thinking about gender then we get stuck saying silly things like oh i need a cross activity that will appeal to goals and that sounds really stupid and it is stupid because who knows what's going to appeal to girls and what's going to appeal to boys and that's where in life when we say things like. Oh well usually women do this and mendi that someone gets offended and then we have to qualify it by saying oh but not all women and not all men and so. I had a previous experience while it find that at the beginning of a semester. I would have in my office crying because they felt like they were just not good enough that they should drop out and it was typically female students and then i have to say but not all women or men whereas male students and then i have to say but not all men male students often thought they were doing fantastically when actually they were doing terribly and so now i can say well in aggressive. Students overestimate their own abilities and congress. Students underestimate their abilities. And so i knew classroom activities. That help congress have students believe that they can do something and understand. Find what their abilities are. Make use of those abilities in the exploration of mathematics and this approach. Ideally would be something that would help every student regardless of who they are what gender. They are exactly. It helps male students female students and non binary students as well were so arranged by this gender binary that we go on about. And i think it would help a lot at earlier. Stages of education and.