Tuesday, September 14, 2010


As I was falling asleep at faaaaaaaaar too late an hour last night (technically this morning...aaaaah, bowling night!), I felt a twinge of anxiety over something I'd written in my blog yesterday. I want to speak briefly to that something.

I realized that both in class yesterday (twice!) and then in my last post here I really gave it to that one response: the "0, 1" answer to the homework question on last week's problem sets. True, the answer is a pretty awful one, but what I should have made clear is that though the answer is awful, that says nothing about the talent or intelligence of its author.

I realize that most of you (my Calc I kiddoes) have probably never been asked to write in complete sentences in mathematics before, and most of you are trained to think of "writing" and "math" as two ends of an academic spectrum. (I'm addressing these issues in Chapter 2 of my book.) Therefore I understand that there's a good deal of inertia you're trying to overcome as you're moving toward writing more robust responses to my homework questions.

I appreciate all that you're doing to get things moving in the right direction. All of you, from the most experienced "math writers" to the least, are intelligent people, and I want to make sure you all know that there's a difference between a lousy answer and a lousy mathematician. We all give the former from time to time, but that doesn't mean that any one of us is the latter.

See you in class!


tom said...

We all have what it takes to become a lousy mathematician? :)

DocTurtle said...

tom: um...yeah. :) I'm'a change that. My bad!

tom said...

:) I hope none of your students were offended.