Sunday, April 9, 2017

On Relevance

John Spencer has this on relevance.
I despise the notion that urban, low-SES students have to analyze hip hop before they can "get into" poetry. It's not that I'm opposed to hip hop poetry (we do a few Def Jams poems and analyze the occasional rap song), but I disagree with the notion that poetry can only speak truth to coffee shop geeks or grad students in the literature department.
Which is a great point. I would argue that it is either relevant or not; if you feel the need to "make it relevant," you will fail and the lesson will fall flat. Students do not need to be conned by relevance and will resist any imposed relevance.

Sometimes Math is just math. It isn't Real World. It has nothing to do with answering "When am I ever gonna have to use this?"

It's a topic we're exploring, and we can follow it a ways down this path.

Two roads may diverge in the yellow wood, but fortunately we can follow both. In most of high school mathematics, there's no need to choose only that which is "relevant".

In fact, that's probably the worst option available.

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