“Certain notions of mathematics are not sufficiently embedded in the culture for children to learn in their natural way, so they come to school to learn them. Once children are in school, we try to impose mathematics on them in much the same way it was imposed on us: we begin by making them work at unimportant and uninteresting problems on little squares of paper. If before we ever allowed children to dance we insisted that they spend hundreds of hours drawing dance steps on square papers, and only when they could pass a test on the ability to draw dance steps on paper would we let them actually get up and dance, many children would find dancing impossibly difficult. Those gifted in dance would give up. And I think this is exactly what we do with mathematics. We teach it to the children in a way quite analogous to drawing dance steps on paper, and only those who can survive twelve years of that ever get to use it, to dance with it.”
Papert, S. (1984). Computer as Mudpie. Intelligent Schoolhouse: Readings on Computers and Learning. In D. Peterson. Reston, VA, Reston Publishing Company.
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