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A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart

This is probably the best treatise on what is wrong with the way Maths is taught. I find that it also applies to most subjects including the languages. In fact this is a great critique of the way schooling works. Also look out for the particularly neat proofs for old problems(Why is a area of a triangle so). Read it here. On  a related note the head first series by O Reilly seems to be doing something to change this. I find their books to be great.
This lament compares math to art and the different ways in which they are learnt or taught. It also points to the sheer lack of imagination , the dryness of school textbooks and their ability to take an object of beauty and turn it into a torturous affair. I suppose this is even more pertinent in India where everything must be reproduced exactly as is without modification.
I think Gauss summarized it best by saying that what we need are notions and not notations.

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