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Dec 23rd 2017 at 12:57:29 AM •••

"Many people just have brains that are not wired to do math well, just as there are some people who are good at music, some at drawing, some at writing, some at language, some at machines, some at manipulation, some at planning"

I was a math tutor/teacher for years, and I am calling bullshit. Math, music, drawing, writing, etc are all skills. You get good at them through practice. I never had a student who couldn't learn math; the first thing I taught was always that struggling and making mistakes don't mean you're dumb, they mean you're learning.

I'd like to revise the above passage, but am open to input/disagreement. first.

Telcontar MOD
Aug 13th 2013 at 11:53:09 AM •••

It shows no hatred, just something complicated.

Jun 1st 2012 at 1:06:08 PM •••

I never got this trope. How is it that people can be so keen on something as crazy as societal mores and as to what's couth and uncouth, but nobody understands math? I think it's more "people hate complicated math problems", which, even as a Mad Mathematician, I can't typically do in my head.

And I really can't stand 'I'll never use it in real life'! You do everyday! You wouldn't exist without math! How could you plan a road trip, determine the best deal on a sale, cook dinner or freakin anything without applying numbers? I just get the impression this trope is a case of Viewers Are Morons Up to Eleven.

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Jul 25th 2012 at 12:56:39 PM •••

I find it's more the "higher" math, like calculus and trig which almost never see everyday use. So long as you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, you'll be okay—it's when one gets into the more complex stuff that the brain goes "poof!".

I also agree with the comment about linguistics on the main page—I myself took it a couple of years ago at Chicago State, and said "Never again!" when the class ended. I tell you, dissecting sentences into morphemes (a word's basic component parts) is a TRIP.

Aug 15th 2012 at 2:48:04 PM •••

As the original Trope Proposer from way back when, it was spawned out of two thoughts - 1) the way a large number of characters seem to either actively fear maths, hate it, see it as pointless or otherwise can't or won't do it; and 2) the number of people - real and fictional - who seem to be proud of being ignorant in the subject.

The thing that seemed to be the root cause was bad teaching. Ultimately, there are certain things that you simply have to just accept as prerequisites for several branches of maths to work; for example, two plus two is four and there's no way to prove that without resorting to high-level Bertrand Russell, and there's no way kids in class are going to get anywhere near that. Standard maths teaching focuses on the abstract elements of the subject rather than its practical applications, and mostly still teaches formulae by rote (probably due to abysmal standardised testing and teaching to the test).

It's also increasingly difficult to keep maths relevant in the modern age. Most people who can't add up three numbers can punch them into the calculator on their phones now, and if you need to add up and multiply lots of sets of three numbers then that's what Excel is for. All of which combines to form a very precise subject (you can't BS your way through a maths exam in the way you can, say, an English Literature essay) which struggles to hold the interest of modern audiences who no longer see use for it. The assumption of anybody who studies maths beyond age 16 or so is that they are either intent on becoming a maths teacher (Big "NO!") or doing something in finance (EVEN BIGGER NO).

Feb 27th 2013 at 6:54:59 AM •••

A couple of years ago, I removed a square light fixture from the ceiling, to replace it with a round fixture. I used the Pythagorean Theorem to determine the size of circular fixture I needed to cover the square hole.

I have spent my career as a computer programmer. I cannot tell you the number of times some other programmer has tried to simplify a complex IF statement, and I have had to explain De Morgan's Laws [1] to them.

May 2nd 2012 at 2:55:44 PM •••

For some reason, troper watson126 decided to change several instances of "math" to "maths" (or "mathss" in some cases). I'm not sure why he/she would do this, but give that some of his/her other edits also include switching to British spellings of words, I'm assuming it's a regional thing. However, he/she apparently didn't read the examples too thoroughly, because he/she changed several quotes and titles. Moreover, apparently he/she got bored somewhere around the middle of the video games section and gave up, leaving the bottom part of the article unchanged. For these reasons, I've changed every instance of "maths" back to "math".

Edited by plasmawingss Hide/Show Replies
Telcontar MOD
May 3rd 2012 at 12:54:14 AM •••

Quotes and titles should be the way the person said/wrote them. As for American vs British spelling, the rule is whichever gets there first. Articles should also be consistant within themselves. Thanks for cleaning up!

Nov 30th 2012 at 11:56:34 AM •••

In case anyone genuinely wants to know, yes, maths is the British spelling.

Aug 18th 2011 at 7:19:22 AM •••

Okay, I took out the bizarre ramble in the middle of the page about how everybody hates maths, even people who make a career out of teaching it. It's not true for me or anyone else I know in the field, but I couldn't see how to edit it without a hugely schizophrenic-looking bunch of natter on the main page. At the very least I think it belongs under Real Life and not in the main body of the article. If somebody's really dedicated to putting it back, the text is below:

However, there's often some Truth in Television here - even college professors hate teaching mathematics, because there's no set way to explain it. Sometimes the explanation just ends up as a jumble of Black Speech, and sometimes equations are too complex and turn math into a merciless mind rapist. A third of the class will probably understand the lecture, the majority will either wonder on how you got from Point C to point D but understand it otherwise - or they'll not understand it at all and think you pulled random symbols out of your bottom. As teachers rarely have time to match each student's individual needs (unlike art or literature, but that's pretty much down to the tropes), lectures that can kill via boredom and examples that are repeated ad nauseam are often the order of the day. It gets worse in more advanced levels, where math starts to lose its practical applications and become something akin to an Eldritch Abomination altogether. As such, most classes teach the material in such a boring or madness-inducing manner that even people who normally like maths yearn for the bell to ring. (There may be hope for the teaching process if the students come in to get tortured - ah, I mean tutored.)

Jun 16th 2011 at 1:38:20 PM •••

Who wrote that middle paragraph? I've actually never seen an area of mathematics without practical applications, indeed most of them have multiple practical applications. If you have reached the point where you are studying math without practical applications (something deep in the space of set theory, maybe), and it isn't interesting to you, it could be asked why you studied so much math in the first place. Math indeed is often TAUGHT without practical applications, because the essential concepts must be grasped before it can be applied correctly. And yes, not all math has applications that a person can exercise walking to work each morning, but to define "practical applications" as those useful to someone outside of the STEM fields is just plain wrong.

College professors who hate teaching mathematics are either not mathematicians themselves (more often than not, they're physicists) or are teaching boring math to uninterested students (i.e., introductory calculus in a pre-med program) or some combination of both (like a physical chemist shanghaied into teaching group theory to CS majors). As far as there being "no set way to explain it," mathematics has the most precise and "set" way of being explained of any discipline, indeed far more than any of the humanities, which will change between any pair of instructors, while mathematics is the same pretty much everywhere

It sounds like the troper who wrote this article has their own issues with the mathematics field. While it's certainly no great personal fault, it's not precisely correct to act like this trope is founded in real deficiencies of math as a discipline rather than simply stemming from hostility towards math as a relatively cerebral and "nerdy" field of interest, and that this trope is not a subtypically appellant to Viewers Are Morons or Dumb Is Good.

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