Civilisations are built on it

16th May 2003 at 01:00
IT was with mounting dismay that I read Peter Wilby's article, particularly as it echoes popular opinion about maths and its relevance in our society.

However, I strongly feel that the problem is in the way it is taught.

Mathematics, properly taught, not only teaches basic numeracy and interpretation of statistics it also fosters the development of logical, concise arguments, teamwork, communication skills and problem solving, all of which are life skills. It is also a very creative subject.

The civilisations in which maths formed a central philosophical part, such as ancient Greece, Arabia, Egypt and Babylon, were the most creative and innovative societies.

Unfortunately, a modern stumbling block is the way in which mathematical understanding is assessed. We need to see radical changes: coursework elements need to be more meaningful to teenagers and exams need to echo the importance of problem-solving skills rather than being a memory test.

Catherine Scarlett 2 Ratten Row Driffield, East Yorkshire

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