Solving for More Than X

Dr. Alan Schoenfeld sat Renee down to solve a ninth-grade math problem. Renee, a professional nurse, hadn’t touched algebra for a decade, or has she?

Real education is never neutral because real education always rests upon an understanding of what is required for human beings to flourish, to be all they are capable of being. And that involves making choices among competing visions.
— Charles Glenn | The Social and Civic Context of Education. Unpublished Manuscript: Boston University, 1999.

After twenty-two minutes of meticulous trial and error, Renee solved the problem most high school students work with. While many would quit after seconds with the problem, or at least turned to Google for aid, Author of God in the Whirlwind, David Wells, says there’s more to algebra than solving for "x".

Wells highlights that many times parents and students are tempted to feel superhuman because technology solves problems faster, but this is at a cost. Instant answers can steal our willingness to work hard for valued objectives, and this includes in our faith.

Classic works like John Bunyan’s book Pilgrims Progress, Wells says, describe a redemptive journey resembles an algebraic conundrum rather than a two-second Google search. This simple approach reveals a very practical lesson. The very best things come through perseverance and commitment, not through the tap of a finger. 

If mankind is on the march to simply participate in random interactions of chemicals and concepts, then Googling answers makes the most sense. However, if humans are on a journey to not only solve problems but enhance life, then understanding processes and engaging in step-by-step resolutions is imperative. 

At Hillcrest our Biblical approach to all subjects drive students deeper into the understanding of our humanity. Mathematics involves more than simply solving for "x". It is a discipline in perseverence and seeking resolution. Therefore, the study of algebra is deeply spiritual, calling students to flourish as they understand more than numbers through daily lessons.

Wayne StenderComment