Monday, October 17, 2011

St. John's College

New York Times on education, St. John's College, and Sarah Benson --

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Sarah Benson last encountered college mathematics 20 years ago in an undergraduate algebra class. Her sole experience teaching math came in the second grade, when the first graders needed help with their minuses.

And yet Ms. Benson, with a Ph.D. in art history and a master’s degree in comparative literature, stood at the chalkboard drawing parallelograms, constructing angles and otherwise dismembering Euclid’s Proposition 32 the way a biology professor might treat a water frog. Her students cared little about her inexperience. As for her employers, they did not mind, either: they had asked her to teach formal geometry expressly because it was a subject about which she knew very little. . . .

Alan Schwarz, "Seeing Value in Ignorance, College Expects Its Physicists to Teach Poetry," New York Times, 17 October 2011.

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