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Martin Mustermann


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Mathematical talent is highly hereditable. Math ability and IQ are so strongly correlated that they are virtually interchangeable. That's a fact, proven by large twin studies und scientifically undisputed to an extent that it's absolutely inexcusable for a professor to deny this, no matter how likeable she appears apart from that. Other aspect I found annoying was the childish tone of the professor, which is inappropriate when addressing adults or even teenagers/youth, who don't want to be treated like childs. Contrary to my math affinity as an adult, in school I myself had worst grades in math because due to private/family problems I was unconcentrated and rarely followed the lessons and instead got used to minimalistic but highly intense self-study only shortly before the exams. That strategy worked well in subjects with less hierarchically structured content but totally failed in math, especially as our math school books were almost useless for self-study. And I hated math for that reason. The major problem that causes many gifted students to fail in math is it's strong hierarchical nature. Students have to pay attention much much more continuously and disciplined than in other subjects. To bring up this discipline is often very difficult for children and youth due to various reasons. Reality is far more complicated than suggested in this course. Some students surely fail in math due to bad teaching, but others fail due to non-biological causes on which neither a teacher nor the student has any influence whatsoever (e.g. student distracted because of puberty-related problems, problems with paying attention, family problems,...) and others fail simply due to biological reasons, that is their innate neurological limits to understand math. Like it or not, there are many students with little innate math ability (and affinity) and they have a quite sharp predefined limit as to how fast and how far they can learn math. Good teaching can activate the genetic potential but never exceed it. Want to know how to learn or teach math? Look out for exemplary self-study material. There are many old gems out there. Have a look at W.W. Sawyers "What is calculus about?" It was written more than half a century ago but it's an outstanding gem of mathematical teaching with a focus on real intuition instead of todays style of mechanically learning boring step-by-tep techniques and formulas. I recommend it for students and teachers equally.