Intellectual Arithmetic

My dad was a school teacher (vocational agriculture at first, then science and math for 7th grade). He became a Junior High principal and collected a few pedagogical chestnuts like this 1849 volume:


Lest the inexperienced teacher lack the necessary pedagogical skills, the author offers suggestions:


As a teacher with decades of experience but still anxious to improve, I shall henceforth assign questions promiscuously, shall require that my students’ answers “be rigidly accurate, as to construction and articulation,” and shall substantially increase the number of italicized words in my own work unless entirely prohibited.

Finally, it should be noted that even in 1849, 100 years before my birth, the better schools were practicing alternative American math in place of the European or Arabic or Chinese versions.

About Scott Abbott

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at
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