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My conception of education


What is aesthetics? I like to think of it as the capacity to feel variety, together with a concern or care for what one wishes to learn about. One may think about the way in which all songs sound alike when one is not interested in a certain music genre; but were one to dive into the genre, he or she would gradually start to recognise the variety and richness of it, while inevitably gaining appreciation. Conversely, if one begins to appreciate a genre, he will thereby also be more and more able to differentiate and be critical of its many facets, independently of whether one is conscious of it or not. However even more fun, once one has had an insight into a subject matter, is to do something with it: if one gets creative and makes something imbued with meaning then one has not aesthetics, but art.

These broad definitions of aesthetics and art can be applied very naturally the rich world of mathematics. Put aside your preconceptions and let us embark in more interesting journeys together, the start and end point matter little, even that annoying little formula in your homework, which on the surface seems to contradict everything I have been saying, hides beneath it trails yet uncharted. Such is my conception of education, one centred around mathematics as a practice, informed by problem and project based learning.

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