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It Was a Monster Math!
November 5, 2009 12:07 PM   Subscribe


 
That was really cool!
posted by Xoebe at 12:12 PM on November 5, 2009


I could have done without the postscript. I mean, what was he thinking? People would watch his math video and say, oh man, hail satan.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:13 PM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


in middle school and high school, sometimes teachers like that make life worth living
posted by past at 12:16 PM on November 5, 2009


i thought i was going to have to call someone waldo.
posted by the aloha at 12:16 PM on November 5, 2009


HAIL SAT...oh, wait.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:19 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Apparently not content only to make a mockery of the study of mathematics, Biola University also has a program in "Messianic Jewish Studies."

Can't wait to see that bullshit hit youtube.
posted by felix betachat at 12:30 PM on November 5, 2009


Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, but how does this promote learning? This is the kind of thing that makes me roll my eyes in the back of class. I mean, I'm not in high school anymore, but when I was, this kind of stuff always bugged me. And it continues to bug me when people do stuff like this now that I'm in graduate school. Where is the value in this, other than making most of the students think that he's really cool? It seems like a big waste of classroom time to me.
posted by k8lin at 12:32 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Heh heh heh.
posted by davejay at 12:34 PM on November 5, 2009


also: yes, you're an old fuddy-duddy.
posted by davejay at 12:35 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Apparently not content only to make a mockery of the study of mathematics, Biola University also has a program in "Messianic Jewish Studies."

Is there some way to emphasize the word "ugh" in order to represent an existential, full-body disgust?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:39 PM on November 5, 2009


By occult he does not mean in the Judeo-Christian sense. Clearly he's talking about the truth of existence revealed to us through mathematical formalism: Iamblichus' cosmology. All hail the monad! The totality of all beings!
posted by geoff. at 12:39 PM on November 5, 2009


I thought this was fun. And he didn't spend the entire class session doing this:

"Math: No, I wasn't actually trying to teach anything with the video - it was just for fun. This was the last 5 minutes of a 75 minute class - I actually taught real math for the first 70 minutes. And yes, I love teaching this class, and I try to keep it lively by doing little fun things like this once in a while."
posted by Seboshin at 12:41 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


At first I thought this was a great high school math teacher, focusing perhaps on freshman or sophomores. Then I realized that this was a class at Biola, an evangelical bible school. Which explains the postscript among other things.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:43 PM on November 5, 2009


Well, if you read the video description he says "the disclaimer at the end of version 2 is an imitation of the disclaimer Michael Jackson put at the beginning of his "Thriller" video."

So I think it was more about that than the Christian thing.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:46 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, but how does this promote learning?

From the description box to the right of the video:
No, I wasn't actually trying to teach anything with the video - it was just for fun. This was the last 5 minutes of a 75 minute class - I actually taught real math for the first 70 minutes. And yes, I love teaching this class, and I try to keep it lively by doing little fun things like this once in a while.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 12:50 PM on November 5, 2009


Poop. Someone beat me to it.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 12:50 PM on November 5, 2009


I agree with k8lin.... 100%

that part about her being an old fuddy-duddy...
posted by HuronBob at 12:53 PM on November 5, 2009


I seem to remember in high school that the teachers who did 'fun stuff' were the bad teachers -- not bad teachers because they did fun stuff, but it's just a correlation I noticed. As if a couple of goofy spectacles could make up for a year of uninspired lectures...

The better teachers added a little of that spirit to every class, like a pinch of nutmeg, without overdoing it.

Not to judge this guy. It is pretty cool.
posted by gonna get a dog at 1:00 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]



Apparently not content only to make a mockery of the study of mathematics...


oh come on.

That's like saying the "people dancing down the aisle at their wedding" video makes a mockery of marriage.

It's a math class for people who aren't math majors - i hardly think 5 minutes of goofing off by the teacher will render the students incapable of adding and subtracting.
posted by dubold at 1:06 PM on November 5, 2009


You people.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:08 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I could have done without the postscript. I mean, what was he thinking? People would watch his math video and say, oh man, hail satan.

Are you being serious? I'm pretty sure that was just taken from the Thriller video.
posted by Cogito at 1:21 PM on November 5, 2009


"I could have done without the postscript. I mean, what was he thinking? People would watch his math video and say, oh man, hail satan."

Are you being serious? I'm pretty sure that was just taken from the Thriller video.


Yeah, that is exactly what it is. From the YouTube sidebar: "The disclaimer at the end of version 2 is an imitation of the disclaimer Michael Jackson put at the beginning of his "Thriller" video."
posted by thewittyname at 2:06 PM on November 5, 2009


I'm kind of weirded out by the fact that you can see the back of his head down there, which makes it seem a bit, y'know, autoerotic or something.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:19 PM on November 5, 2009


I can't believe the Thriller thing had to be explained.
posted by cashman at 2:27 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is there some way to emphasize the word "ugh" in order to represent an existential, full-body disgust?


...
  <body class="disgust">
    <p><em existential="existential">ugh</em></p>
  </body>
...


why yes I am writing documentation today thank you for asking
posted by davejay at 2:29 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


k8lin, you are NOT "an old fuddy-duddy", you are still a YOUNG fuddy-duddy. You are not allowed to put the "old" in front of fuddy-duddy until you reach the age of 50 (interestingly, the minimum age to join AARP). But the Union of Fuddy Duddies and All in a Huffs (UFDAH) is open to members of all ages...

As for the video, I see an xkcd comic based on it in the future.

And due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress this comment in no way endorses a belief in math.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:43 PM on November 5, 2009


I, too, can't believe the Thriller thing had to be explained.
posted by scrowdid at 2:46 PM on November 5, 2009


As a math teacher, I think it was a very inventive and fun thing to do for the last 5 minutes of class.
posted by garnetgirl at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


When school is fun. The learning is easy.
posted by doctorschlock at 2:55 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


RAWR CHRISTIANS CAN'T HAVE FUN
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 2:55 PM on November 5, 2009


Also, this guy is awesome. As far as I can remember the teachers who were clever enough to have fun with class were the only ones I learned anything from – the rest I forgot.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 3:05 PM on November 5, 2009


I'm not in high school anymore, but when I was, this kind of stuff always bugged me. And it continues to bug me when people do stuff like this now that I'm in graduate school. Where is the value in this

The value lies in establishing a rapport with the class. Students who like and admire their instructors are more apt to pay attention, particularly when it is a subject that they find dull or challenging. Lots of non-math majors find math frightening, in fact, and I imagine this teacher is good at putting them at their ease.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:19 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Those of you who are disgusted: would you be disgusted if this had been at a secular university? I normally don't get behind teh Christians, but I can't imagine thinking this is anything but cute and charming. Just curious where the full-body disgust could possibly come from.
posted by nosila at 3:36 PM on November 5, 2009


nosila, there's a world of difference between Christians, even evangelical ones, and so-called "messianic jews." The former may or may not harbor supercessionist beliefs, but the latter are actively working to convert Jews to Christianity and are seeking the end of Jewry as a religious community. This Master of Divinity in "Messianic Jewish Studies" program that I linked to is training people to proselytize to Jews with the goal of hastening an eschaton in which the unconverted will die in a new holocaust.

So, let me put it to you this way: if you saw a video of someone teaching in a superficial, pandering way, and then learned that that person was teaching at an institution which made neo-nazi ideology an aspect of its intellectual mission, would that strike you as worth mentioning? I mean, cute and charming is all well and good. But this guy has his paycheck cut by active, organized anti-semites. I, for one, am at least going to point that out. If you want to discuss the further possibility that there may be a connection between the self-indulgent and banal pedagogical style on display in this video and the myopic idiocy of this teacher's institution, I would be happy to do that.
posted by felix betachat at 4:14 PM on November 5, 2009


Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, but how does this promote learning?

In and of itself, it does nothing to teach the subject at hand. But having a teacher who can capture the imaginations of students by livening up class period once in a while will mean students are paying attention. And students who pay attention learn more than those who don't. It doesn't take much to get kids thinking that you are, well, may not hip or cool, but at least worth focusing some brain cells on for an hour or so a day.

If you're envisioning that every minute of every class period with this teacher is like this, then you're doing it wrong.
posted by hippybear at 4:34 PM on November 5, 2009


I am a card carrying old fuddy-duddy and I thought it was great.
posted by digsrus at 5:37 PM on November 5, 2009


felix betachat - I understand your anger at the school and the jackasses who founded it and run it, and it is right the hell on. Since Biola isn't a hot topic on Metafilter, I don't suppose you're likely to find another time to voice it here. I'm glad you did, because I had no idea Biola University existed and I can now place it on my list of places to laugh at when there is no big apocalypse and all the people there just die in the end like everyone else. (Contemplate the temporal twistiness of that...)

BUT - your anger seems a bit misplaced, as this is just some young professor in the math department who spent the last five minutes of class goofing off for Halloween and who probably applied to about 150 schools and wound up with a job Bi-frickin-ola when he really wanted to be at Northwestern or MIT or whatever.
posted by nosila at 5:56 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


a job AT Bi-frickin-ola
posted by nosila at 5:56 PM on November 5, 2009


Counterexample: I don't wish I had a teacher like this.
posted by molybdenumblue at 6:14 PM on November 5, 2009


Your point is well taken, nosila. I guess I'm just reacting to the knee-jerk sentimentalizing in the thread. This doesn't strike me as good pedagogy at all (more like clumsy nerd stand-up), and the larger institutional context that it's happening in just churns my stomach. I guess I should parse the two reactions a little more finely.
posted by felix betachat at 6:43 PM on November 5, 2009


Aw, it's all good. I am just ultra-sensitive to the troubles of a young professor thrown in to a place he may not be really comfortable because he needs a job and the job market blows. n.b. I also kind of have a thing for ultra-cheesy math professors, as evidenced by previous crushes and relationships.

And the more I look at this school's website, the more I want to burn it to the ground, job market be damned.

No one do that. I will be held responsible.
posted by nosila at 6:47 PM on November 5, 2009


My husband is a high school chemistry teacher. He blew up pumpkins with his AP classes last week.
posted by zizzle at 7:33 PM on November 5, 2009


I'm surprised at the people who are finding this "a waste of time". If you just took some time to read the sidebar -- like everyone has said -- he notes that this is a very broad math class for those of us who don't like math.

Rolling your eyes and calling yourselves old fuddy-duddies isn't what I think of when I see people objecting to this.

This guy has a genuine passion for math and a sincere appreciation for the art of teaching, even to those he knows aren't really that enthralled by it. He's getting people engaged and enthused about something they weren't previously interested in before, something they might not have had the confidence to do before. Teachers like this change lives.

So I'm sorry, but get over yourselves.
posted by june made him a gemini at 7:54 PM on November 5, 2009


Teachers like this change lives.

Give me a break. This is a math teacher at an evangelical christian college fucking around in front of the class. There is no "teaching" going on here. You want to see lives being changed? Go rent Blackboard Jungle again.
posted by felix betachat at 8:01 PM on November 5, 2009


The fact that it's a Christian college wasn't why I said what I said about this being a waste of time. The religious nature of the institution is unrelated to my annoyance. This professor spent at least three hours of his time (which he could have spent on lesson planning, or on talking with students one-on-one, or I don't know, hanging out with his family, maybe he didn't do it while he was being paid to work) on this video, and this video really has nothing to do with math. Teachers can engage their students without resorting to making unrelated videos that took hours of their time to prepare. It's like gonna get a dog says above: "The better teachers added a little of that spirit to every class, like a pinch of nutmeg, without overdoing it."

Example: I wasn't much for hard sciences, but some of my best science teachers did some really cool and interesting things in class that really related to the lectures and topics at hand. These demonstrations and discussions opened science up for me in a way that I didn't think was possible, and none of them had to resort to unrelated gags to make me think that science (or science teachers, or my science teachers) could be cool or fun or interesting.
posted by k8lin at 9:03 PM on November 5, 2009


Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy

Using the term "fuddy-duddy" makes you one.

Aw, shit.
posted by grubi at 6:10 AM on November 6, 2009


You people.

What do you mean "You people"?
posted by grubi at 6:11 AM on November 6, 2009


This professor spent at least three hours of his time (which he could have spent on lesson planning, or on talking with students one-on-one, or I don't know, hanging out with his family, maybe he didn't do it while he was being paid to work) on this video, and this video really has nothing to do with math.

So, um... You're a professional MetaFilter commenter, then? Or are you shirking your family duties to post here?

I don't understand this objection at all.
posted by hippybear at 8:23 AM on November 6, 2009


k8lin: Stuff like this could very easily be a hobby of his. A way to have some fun himself. And even if it isn't...

I really thought the majority of the comments in here would be the one I thought to make after watching it: This is awesome.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:01 PM on November 6, 2009


Metafilter makes me not like things, I can't believe the comments here!

Maybe ths isn't the best thing on Youtube, but are you seriously telling me this wouldn't make your week if a teacher did this at school? 16 years of education and nobody ever did anything half as cool for me.

That said, the maths-duplicate of him should have killed the real teacher and then taken over the class. That would have been better.
posted by greytape at 4:39 AM on November 7, 2009


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