Why do you need algebra: for the ability to think logically and abstractly. If it is logical – clear to everyone – it is, in fact, to think consistently, reasonably and correctly. That’s abstract – it’s worth explaining.
The fact is that as we develop from young child to adult, our thinking changes.
A very young child has only visually effective thinking, ie. I saw something, it’s something you can touch and turn in your hands, so it’s interesting. They rattled a rattle, gave candy, a dog barked – it’s interesting at the moment… Ie. the world is chaotic and full of things, people, phenomena,… Which are interesting only if they are paid attention to.
Further reading: Essay on History and Importance of Algebra
Then comes the development of the second form of thinking (from 1.5 to 7 years): it is concrete-subject thinking. When there is an object and they can do something. That subject is more useful, and this one is less. You can play on the tablet and iron on the ironing board… The child comes to understand the general laws of the world.
In parallel, visual thinking develops: here again the focus is on vision, but what is seen is also presented in the head. That. even if the object has already been removed and cannot be seen, it is still remembered and thought of. The image of the same tablet is already in your head and you can remember and think about it when you are bored, and not only when they are waved in front of your eyes, as in the first type of thinking.
And finally, the most important thing for a person is abstract-logical thinking. Now the subject becomes not just an object that is useful to us for something, but there is an understanding and awareness of its inner work. It is possible to understand some important features: for example, the tablet works not just because of my desire, but because it is charged by electricity from the outlet.
Abstraction allows you to penetrate deep into things, to separate the important from the secondary, to understand how what cannot be felt works. After all, if you disassemble the tablet, there will be a chip inside, which can be viewed, touched, disassembled further, represented in memory, but still do not understand how the tablet works. That. previous levels of thinking are simply not enough to figure this out.
Is algebra really necessary?
Surprisingly, not only we have people who want to abolish mathematics for those who do not need it. For example, to poets, journalists, historians and other humanitarians, mathematics is in such quantities, and even so complex, and even one that must be surrendered, and is not required at all. You can develop logical thinking in some other way.
Well, why torture children like that, who know for sure that they will never need all this in their lives. Many people liked the wonderful word “profiling”. In this matter, I am touched by the humanities, who so happily perceive the limitation of the knowledge they acquire. Note, however, that techies do not rebel so fiercely against the abundance of humanitarian subjects, although they are taught no better than the subjects of the natural science cycle, and no better than mathematics.
So, a recent New York Times article, “Is Algebra Necessary?” Was written by political scientist Andrew Hacker, professor emeritus at the University of New York’s Queens College. These are the arguments the author makes against the general study of mathematics at a decent level.
Six million high school students and two million college freshmen are affected. One in four graduates from ninth grade does not complete high school. And most of this is due to algebra. Well, the beginning of mathematical analysis and trigonometry, it’s even worse, of course.
For example, two California universities only consider applications from those who have studied mathematics for three years. Colleges have an equally impenetrable math wall. Many people try to take math courses several times. And they cannot … Mathematics in the first year also does not allow many students to obtain a bachelor’s degree, only 58% of those who entered receive it. In general, it is mathematics that interferes most of all with doing what you love, a difficult, very complex subject, which you still need to know.
And that is not all. Colleges also choose their students from those who know mathematics well. And the more prestigious the college, the more points you need to score on the math exam. So, the threshold of 700 points required in many educational institutions is overcome only by 9% of boys and 4% of girls. The rest would be better off inheriting or being athletes.
Well yes, Finland, South Korea and Canada have better math scores. But they get the desired job there not for knowledge of algebra, but for perseverance and perseverance, like that.
And a wonderful argument, so beloved by many: the reasoning that is required in the course of work is very different from what is taught in school.