Why the Maths Village for High School Students?
We all know that mathematics as a school subject is usually a high school student’s worst nightmare; many students struggle with it and are unsuccessful. However, mathematical thinking, abstraction, deduction, foresight, modelling and planning are essential abilities in the modern world.
It may be the case that mathematics is indeed more difficult than the other subjects. This does not mean that it should be disliked: one should deal with the hardship.
Experience indicates that failure in mathematics often stems from fear of failure. Indeed, how many times do we see youngsters who are not afraid to solve puzzles, riddles or sudoku - no matter how hard – refuse to think about or even attempt to understand a mathematical problem? They are unable to focus on these problems because failure in mathematics has big implications in the rest of their life, such as bad marks, failing a year, being refused university entrance…
We believe that everyone’s mathematical intelligence is more or less equal. If the fear of failure is dealt with and the student is allowed to focus on the problem, we believe anyone can come to love mathematics. What is important is not to solve but to understand the problem. The number of problems a mathematician is unable to solve is much greater than the number he or she is able to solve.
In the Mathematics Village we aim to remove these two obstacles (fear and lack of focus).
There are no exams, marks, failing classes, nor punishments - these all feed the fear of failure. There are also no factors to cause distraction such as music, television, and excessive noise.
There have been youths who hated mathematics and came to the Village to “give mathematics one last chance”, in their own words. They left amazed not only at what mathematics can do but also at what their own minds were capable of.
Occasionally, exceptionally talented youngsters come to the mathematics village. Unfortunately it is often the case that there are no resources available where they live to feed their often insatiable curiosity, maintain their excitement, or pull them towards new waters and widen their horizons. Furthermore, many students – not knowing any better - reduce mathematics to university entrance examination problems. By showing students “real” mathematics, the mathematics that academicians are interested in, we open their eyes to a wonderful new world beyond these university entrance exams. Many have chosen to pursue mathematics studies thanks to the Village.
Whether they are “good” at mathematics or “bad”, any student that has come once to the mathematics village wants to and does come again.
Why the Mathematics Village for University Students?
- In order to be able to delve into certain important topics which the typical curriculum does not have the time for, and to be able to go into detail and depth in certain subjects.
- In order to give university students the opportunity to listen to lectures given by outstanding academics from Turkey and abroad.
- To allow university students to meet, cooperate and form work groups.
- To reduce the city/countryside, east/west dichotomy to a minimum.
- In order for these students to live in the same environment as these academics, so that they may see their way of living and outlook on life, and draw their own conclusions.
- In order for those who know to teach those who don’t, and for them to learn while teaching.
- For those students who are pursuing a PhD abroad to be able to spend at least a week of their time back in Turkey sharing their research areas with Turkish students and with each other.
- To make use of summer vacations for some networking, for friendships to be formed among the academicians of tomorrow.
- In order to spend part of the summer thinking together!