Thursday, September 23, 2010

Links with High School in Paris

Someone I worked with a few years ago went to Paris to become a high school teacher there. He just wrote me a message today that I thought I would pass along:

> Notre lycée souhaite developper des liens internationaux avec d'autres
> lycées dans le monde pour éventuellement faire des echanges. Mes eleves
> iraient une semaine a Toronto puis les canadiens viendrait apres une semaine
> à Paris.
> Est-ce que tu penses que des high school teachers que tu connais dans ton
> programme à York seraient interessée (de préférence un high school
> downtown)?
> Il faudrait trouver un sujet commun d'étude pour favoriser le travail en
> commun entre les deux classes.

My translation:

Our high school wants to develop international links with other high schools around the world so that we would eventually create an exchange program. My students would spend one week in Toronto and then Canadians would come after for one week in Paris.

Do you think that high school teachers that you know in the York program would be interested (with a preference of a high school downtown)?
We would need to find a common subject of study to facilitate the work between the two classes.

If you or someone you know might be interested, contact me and I can get you in touch with my friend who wrote this message.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

My pet peeve

As this is a blog, I sometimes post comments about things I see in the media as well as announcements about the program. I just wanted to share with you this column that I found in the Detroit Free Press written to an advice columnist 'Dear Leanna':

"Dear Leanna: My seventh-grade daughter, Samantha, hates math. I told her that like most women, I wasn't good in math either, so if she got a D, that was OK. Her father is furious. He says she needs to do well in math to have options. She wants to be a dress designer. They need math?"

When I first read the question I was squirming in horror. Look away! ' most women...' ???? Where does that EVEN come from? (don't answer that unless you really want to, I know very well where it comes from). Oh, the humanity!

That aside, at least the columnist addressed math attitudes (but seemed to brush aside the blatent sexism) and assumed that a 7th grader who decides that she wants to go into dress design would still have the same belief next week.

But Leanna didn't see the larger context in which math appears in design. She mentions "measuring, estimating, purchasing, budgeting, paying expenses, making a profit." That is only the part that involves arithmetic. But good design requires innovation and developing new technology and techniques. If Samantha were to restrict her skills to only those which do not involve math then she really won't have a deep understanding of how new materials are created and can be manipulated, she will have to rely on others to do that for her. Writing off math limits what you can do with a computer and knowing what a computer can even accomplish (you mean a computer does more than browse the internet?). There are an uncountable number of less tangible effects of being math illiterate.

Fall term classes

Hi All,
Hope you had a good summer. Classes start again this week and I thought I would send out a reminder and welcome back message.

(1) Classes will be 6-9pm as in previous years. We had to fight the registrar so if you saw listings that classes would be 7-10pm please ignore those.

(2) The history and 'fundamentals' course are offered in alternate years and this FW term Stan Kochman will be teaching the history course. Walter Whiteley will be teaching the geometry course and it has not been offered in a while (and will probably not be offered again for another 3 years).

(3) The GPD has asked me to schedule an advising appointment with all current students early in the Fall term. It will be possible to do this over the phone or before the Monday/Thursday classes and the purpose is to make sure that we both know of any courses that you will need to take before graduation (summer 2011 courses will be decided in the Fall and it is helpful if I know of any gaps).