Mathematics – The Philosophy of Educated Risk Takers

“Education should embrace more than formal learning”,
John Lawlor, Chief Executive Office, Scouting Ireland, Irish Times, March 25th 2014.
We agree wholeheartedly with Mr Lawlor’s assertions presented in the Irish Times yesterday that the changes proposed in the Junior Cycle afford great opportunities to students to enrich their post primary experiences and to achieve a balance between formal and informal learning.
Surf 3D Right Side Up
We would go a step further and say that it is an essential part of a complete education where students will have greater freedom in acquiring essential life skills as well as coming to terms with the underlying philosophy that underpins all learning and personal development, whether in or outside of the classroom, embracing critical thinking, educated risk taking, collaborative thinking, problem solving, decisions making, appreciating change and rate of change in all things and aspects of life and relationships. This philosophy is of course Mathematics. This is the one true philosophy that not only underpins all subjects and disciplines but also holds the key to successful, caring and progressive societies.

Complimentary Customised iBooks are given to students who also have access to iPads as part of the technology based learning environment.
Discovery, Creativity & Technology embracing educated risk taking at CMA

‘Máthēma’, the ancient Greek word means ‘that which one learns’ and in modern Greek simply means ‘lesson’. There have been many other definitions since then such as Aristotle’s definition ‘the science of quantity’ up to as late as 1870 with Benjamin Peirce’s  ‘the science that draws necessary conclusions’. Whichever definition one prefers, mathematics can be seen as a fundamental philosophy whereby people can understand the world around them enabling them to aspire to be masters of their own destiny, whether it be through a university degree they would ideally like to complete or a career they would love to follow or a business idea they have and need to be equipped to pursue.
When students have been afforded the opportunity to grasp the key concepts through more informal strategies, and are comfortable with them, their career choices are increased many fold, leading to happier and more satisfied citizens. Regardless of whether a student has an academic career path in his/her sights or perhaps a career in a trade or business, having a fluency in the key mathematical concepts will go a long way to achieving these goals while ensuring a sound mind capable of educated risk taking and participating in a caring and more equal society.
In conclusion, John Lawlor’s assertions are indeed correct, and with clever and astute school led curriculum design, the new Junior Cycle offers amazing opportunities for students to discover and develop their interests, to bring rational and critical thinking to their daily lives while embracing the wonders that creativity and mathematics can foster.
Aengus O’Connor, Director