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Tomas Fernandez Nuñez

Student System Engineering, TEDxUTN

TEDCRED 500+

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Do Mathematics really help us to think and open our minds?

Well, i put that TED talk because was the only one that i found kinda related to this topic.
So a year ago I was in secondary school where teach about many subjects but very little mathematical content. I saw this as a problem, since my intention after leaving school was to pursue a engineering carrier, which obviously has a lot of math. So i studied and practiced hard to pass the entrance examination. After weeks of study, i noticed that was starting to think like in a more clear and analytical way.
I'm sure that most advanced mathematics might can help us when time to think.
Maybe was a growth phenomenon? or caused by mathematics?

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  • Nov 17 2011: Hi Tomas ~
    Excellent observation and question.
    Mathematics can be an "exercise" (and a very good one) for the brain.
    My Mom, who loves Math, and was a math teacher - actually does Suduko everyday - she feels its wakes up her mind and sharpens her thought processes. I think that's what you're saying about the changes you observe in yourself.
    From a personal perspective, it's not something that comes easily to me - so I tend to get very distracted when engaging in most math related tasks, which means I have real difficulty focusing. I did discover though, that when I can relate the math problems to be solved to something I am very interested in or understand, suddenly I feel as though a "light goes on" and I have a much easier time with math.
    My children are both lucky enough to have really gifted mathematics teachers - they teach in a manner that the kids relate to, and it makes a ton of difference regarding how quickly and completely the grasp the concepts, and are able to put them into practice. A critical component of this is how they teach and that they really love kids and want t0o see them learn - so they are happy to work with them until they understand. My older daughters teacher even taught me a few things recently - and did so enthusiastically, without an ounce of criticism - I have to say, it made a huge difference in the way I understood concepts I hadn't reviewed in over 20 years! (and made me wish I had a teacher like her when I was in school - methods have changed so very much! For the better I think :)
    I think a key part to it IS practice - like any exercise, the more you do - the better you get. Having a goal behind the repetition is also motivating - you are a great example of that!
    Good luck to you! It sounds like you are well on your way to a wonderful career!

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