Tag Archives: education

Chess Coaching Services (and Reasons for Doing So)

I’ve decided to provide chess coaching services (services found on my “Schedule David” page, found by clicking here) for many reasons.  The most-in-my-face reason is that I constantly field questions by tournament players, as well as some online players, the most ever-present being: How in the world did you improve your chess so quickly?  When I played tournament chess between 2008 and 2010, I got the question regularly, especially toward the end of that period, when I began scoring against Experts –I am better than 20% against Experts in the 2000-2099 range.  After not looking at a chess board in about four years –I left play due to migraines experienced as a result of diabetes, and other diabetic-related issues[1]–, I have been able to return to study and competitive play, and I am getting questions much more now.  What has compounded the interest of many players is that I’m an adult making this kind of progress, and adults typically a horrifically difficult time improving.  Many adult players will sit in a 100-200 point rating band for 20 years, despite playing regularly and studying the game.  I can name many examples.  This all sort of a secondary reason for availing myself for formal coaching and advising –in “advising,” I mean to say that I will also be offering the programs that I used for my improvement.  Answering the number of questions put to me would otherwise be impossible without a practical means of making room in my busy schedule.  I have always felt rude for holding my routines, etc. as closely guarded secrets; but not only does it take time to convey to a group of individuals, but it also took a tremendous amount of time in research to develop my training methods and routines. Continue reading

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Filed under Chess, Education

The Value of Ayn Rand in an Introductory Philosophy Course

The discipline of philosophy is something to be held inviolate; the classroom likewise.  One might be inclined to ask, what is the function of teaching provocative material to an introductory level philosophy class?  There wouldn’t be, if the material didn’t have philosophical import.  If the material does have philosophical import, then why chose, at the very least, something that is provocative?  One important quality that philosophy is supposed to instill in intellectual thought, itself, is a dispassionate nature, whether in judgment or analysis.  Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Pedagogy

Between Feynman in Babylon and Metaphysics: What the Mathematical Process and the History of Science Can Tell Us Philosophically about the Education Process

Since I have spent the summer studying mathematics at Harvard University with Jameel Al-Aidroos (Ph.D Berkeley), expect that my next few posts, or at least some of them, will be on topics related to mathematics.  I want to take some time, in this blog post, to look at where mathematical thought fits into some of my understandings of I have gleaned from studying the history of science.  The upshot of the historical, philosophical, and mathematical content and musings will be pedagogical, just to give the reader some idea of where I am going.  An important thing to understand, before reading this post, is the distinction between pure and applied mathematics.  “Pure mathematics,” as opposed to “applied mathematics,” is, in its essence, math for its own sake, entirely apart from possible applications.  In many cases, pure mathematics initially has no known application.  Additionally, pure mathematics deals with abstract entities that have been detached from particular entities —and this will prove to be important to what I will say later.

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Filed under Education, History and Philosophy of Science, History of Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Mathematics

Mathematics Education: What in the World Is the Point?

There seems to be some question, in the minds of some (many?), about the value of teaching mathematics in middle and high school, and even whether we should, as a society, continue to institute such education.  Being a science- and mathematics-trained philosopher (and, in some attenuated sense, an historian), I usually find myself defending the humanities against the pervading scientism of, “what’s the point of all these poems, stories, and philosophizing; what does it do, from a practical standpoint?”  When I hear the question, “why should we teach the general populace mathematics beyond elementary school?” I become thoroughly disconcerted —can’t we see the value in any intellectual activity?  I came across the TEDx video by John Bennett (below), in which he says, ‘I am a middle school and high school math teacher, but I have to tell you something: I don’t think what I teach is very important.  In fact, if it were up to me, I would no longer require math to be taught in middle school or high school.’ Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Mathematics