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If Only Math Majors Could Write...

Author(s): Bernard L. Madison

Journal: Numeracy
ISSN 1936-4660

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Mathematics | Humanities | Fine arts | Classroom practice

This text of the opening plenary address to the 2011 Summit of the Appalachian College Association and the meeting of the National Numeracy Network makes an argument that quantitative reasoning and writing should be taught together. The argument is set up by noting that humanists have historically banished quantitative issues from their study of the liberal arts and that science, engineering, and mathematics education suffers from lack of approaches to learning that promote complex, deeper understanding, most notably integrative and reflective learning. Therefore, everyone would profit from combining writing and quantitative reasoning. Five more specific reasons are discussed, drawing evidence from numerous sources among the twenty-nine references. The reasons given for combining quantitative constructs and language are: (1) To strengthen academic arguments; (2) To strengthen quantitative literacy/reasoning; (3) To interpret and improve public discourse; (4) To encourage quantitative reasoning across the curriculum; and (5) To prepare for the workplace. Underlying the basic argument and the reasons discussed are clear indications that, in present circumstances, teaching quantitative reasoning rests to a large extent on colleges and universities.
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