I think the kinds of people who go into education, math or otherwise, are communicators. So vocabulary and labels are important to them. I am not sure they understand that math can be understood without so much of the vocabulary or labels, or even classification. There is too much early emphasis by them on communicating - explaining in words how you solved the problem, explain how your friends solved the problem, explain why this one is wrong, talk, talk, talk, communicate. They think that learning cannot take place without turning the kids into little teachers themselves. They think that if you can't communicate it in words, then you don't understand it. They forget that math is symbolic, and a form of communication in and of itself without needing sentences and vocabulary and words. And that some kids can understand things perfectly well without verbalizing. And that having to verbalize all the time can inhibit learning for those kids.
Katharine Beals, PhD, is the author of "Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Strategies for Helping Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children to Thrive at Home and at School" (Shambhala/Trumpeter)
Katharine is an educator and the mother of three left-brain children. She has taught math, computer science, social studies, expository writing, linguistics, and English as a second language to students of all ages, both in the U.S. and overseas. She is also the architect of the GrammarTrainer, a linguistic software program for language impaired children.
She is currently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and an adjunct professor at the Drexel University School of Education.
This site uses left-brain and right-brainnot as physiological terms for the actual left and right hemispheres of the brain, but as they are employed in the everyday vernacular. They appear here in the same spirit in which people use type A and type B (themselves the relics of a debunked theory about blood type and character type): an informal shorthand for certain bundles of personality traits.