the Irish ses school john scottus

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
daska
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Postby daska » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:37 pm

Surely the description of 'vedic' (whatever it's origins) maths should be dependent on whether it works or not rather than based on the personality of an individual who taught it.

Most schools don't teach geometry or trig either but they come in dead handy in the oddest situations - like working out the most economic amount of patterned fabric to buy for a round tablecloth - made me look a genius in comparison to my state educated classmates when I got to 6th form until they asked me for help with their O level statistics problems.

As usual it's a problem of balance, an excess of anything is bad for you in some way and an emphasis on a particular brand of learning at the expense of the 'norm' is counter productive.

chrisdevere
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Postby chrisdevere » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:37 pm

I have always struggled with maths. i have a form of Dyslexia that is with numbers rather than the more usual words and letters.

I did not even know it was vedic maths we were doing. I do remember that maths at St vedast never made any sense to me whatsoever. I finally learnt long multiplication and division though quite quickly once I left St Vedast and was taught a normal method. I actually enjoyed maths after this i guess I was just too far behind after 6 years of being written off as an idiot for not understanding vedic maths!!!!!

Oh well cest la vie! 6 years of being ridiculed as an idiot because I did not get the bits about the absolute and numbers, and weird geometric justification of SES beliefs!

Wish they had tried to actually teach kids something usefull mathematically!
Christopher de Vere
chrisdevere@hotmail.com

lowpass
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Postby lowpass » Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:45 pm

anti_ses wrote: but I'm sure you'll agree that the point of learning Vedic Maths is to improve mental arithmetic (which is still quite important, even today) and provide easy computational techniques.


Hi Anti SES
I quote from your link you provided "The reasonable conclusion is that not too much attention need be given to the Vedic source but that we work with what we have been supplied by following the example set by Sri Tirthaji."

This hardly inspires confidence of 'vedic' math's ancient origins!

I dont' find vedic math's any easier than the usual mental arithmetic methods, and having to learn sutras in sanskrit along side simple addition was confusing, especially as the axioms or laws etc were so vague and arbitrary. The sutras can of course be applied to any subject, they are very obscure.

In answer to your question
anti_ses wrote:"but I'm sure you'll agree that the point of learning Vedic Math's is to improve mental arithmetic"



If you are referring to why St James taught vedic maths, I would disagree. It was taught as they believed the Vedas contained all wisdom, an SES belief, and not that it was the most elegant way to do mental arithmetic.

If you are referring to the point of vedic maths creation itself, again I would disagree, and would draw your attention to the forward of Tirthajis (vedic maths inventor)
original 1965 book, where all sorts of sensational metaphysical claims are made. Also the rather amusing bit about the transcendent universality of maths, citing the example of a horse who could find the cube root of numbers, tapping out the answer with it's hoof. Strange to find that in a mathematical scientific work of the 60s would you not agree?

(It is also worth noting all the mathematicians and scientists in India who are trying to stop Hindu nationalists subverting schools with this historically fictional book in their attempts to promote Hindu supremecy and aryan racism.

By all means teach vedic maths, with sever caveats, as a marginal curiosity of tricks, dealt with in a few lessons. The amount of time spent at St James learning those sutras and their debatable philosophy in a maths class was daft.

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Postby a different guest » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:24 pm

daska - schools in the UK don't teach geometry? or trig?

daska
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Postby daska » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:32 pm

not all, no, certainly the school I moved too which had a good reputation did not offer these as part of the syllabus. But I only know this because some of my fellow 6th formers were re-taking maths and asked for help. To be fair it might have been CSEs they were taking rather than O level but I couldn't have passed their exams any more than they could have passed mine.

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Postby a different guest » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:42 pm

I would have thought geometry at least was pretty standard. Or are you talking some advance kind?

Here maths is compulsory all the way thru school - tho at senior school leaving level (and most kids here would go to year 12 - or your 7th form) and at that level there are different math subjects. For the math challenged you can choose something like "maths in society" which I think concentrates of the every day maths you need (like understand cheque books, credit cards etc.), and then progressively harder maths courses with all the esoteric things which I never got my head around.

Up until year 10 all the kids do the same maths.

daska
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Postby daska » Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:07 pm

no, not talking advanced at all, but am slightly confused by terms for school age groups. 7th form for St James/Vedast is, incidentally, the name of our 'official' ex-pupil organisation. I've never got my head around 'years' so lets stick with ages. When I was at school there were 'O'rdinary levels and CSEs (which you took if you weren't bright enough to take O levels) which you sat at approx 15/16, they've since been replaced by GCSEs. There were, and probably are still numerous Examining Boards which set different syllabi (? Just cos we had to study latin doesn't mean we learnt any, thanks willibum). Therefore, depending on your ability you studied different aspects and levels in different subjects. When I moved schools the girls who were asking for help were those who had failed to achieve a math qualification at 16. (to put this in perspective: grade 4 CSE basically meant you turned up for the exam and were capable of remembering and writing your name, I got my French CSE by remembering to say 'pardon, je suis anglais, je m'appelle <my name>, je ne parle pas francais' - maybe they liked my accent, I've been told it's tres joli).

So, yes, schools do teach these subjects (St J teaches geometry from at least age 5 if not younger) but whether you are given the opportunity to study them depends on your ability and the choices made by the school you attend. I would hazard a guess that geometry (with nice sharp pointy compasses) is probably not common in our most difficult schools for various reasons associated with Health and Safety...

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Postby a different guest » Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:20 pm

sorry Daska - my confusion re 7th form.

OK ages. And also I do have some familiarity with the british system (I know at least what O levels vs CSE means) - so can follow you there.

Here primary starts age 5 - there is an introductory year (variously called Kinder/prep/transtion - depending on what state you live in) then 6 years of further "primary" education.

Then comes high school (so starting age then around 12/13). The first year of high school is Year 7 and it goes to year 12 (so around 18 years old). Some students may leave at year 10 - but vast majority don't. There is some sort of Certificate I think at this stage, but it is not external exams like O levels.

Year 12 has externally set leaving exams. The number of subjects offered depends on the size of the school. Maths and English are compulsory but in those subjects (and most others) you can do harder or easier courses (the harder courses involving more classes in it, and also worth more points). If english is your second language you can sit leaving level with an "english as a 2nd language" subject. Students can also study their home language AS a home language (rather than a language learnt like your French) as a leaving level subject. If your school doesn;t have a subject that you particularly want to do you can also apply to study this by "distance ed" - so you will be allocated "class time" and study this subject with a teacher over the internet.

So even if your high school is small and doesn;t offer a wide range of subjects you are not necessarily limited to those on offer.


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