De A a Z, tudo se pode fazer DE OUTRA MANEIRA...

Education by passion is better than by infection

Manuel Câmara, my father, was honored this last week by the Lisbon Municipality for his Silence Valley Park. The very same week of his great-grandson Gael Camara’s birth.

My father was a great landscape architect. He was also a pioneer in the use of computing in his profession. But my lasting memories of him are from his views on education. Views that I shared with my sons and hopefully with my grand-son.

When I was twelve years-old he told me that education should be geared towards finding a passion to organize one’s life. He thought that the Portuguese system, except for a few professors’ efforts, was just the opposite. He prepared me to endure an infection model based on boring classes and exams that bordered often on petty charades. My father prepared me for the latter, teaching me how to do well in exams. He also taught me how to think by using numbers, pictures and words.

My father accepted my decision of skipping classes as much as possible (4 straight years at IST). He was also perfectly OK with my preferred passion: tennis. He subscribed World Tennis, the top tennis magazine at the time, so I could improve my passion and, in the process, my English. I used tennis to turn abstract geometric and statistical concepts into something concrete: how to manage my serve and the return of serve. Through tennis,  I also learned about frontier developments in science and technology: the materials used in the new generation of racquets, and the pioneer use of sensors are illustrative examples.

His most striking recommendation was on trying to think different at all times, even if defying the “authorities”. He abhorred blind obedience.

He was also firm when he thought he had to be. When I wanted to turn pro at 21 leaving IST (which I hated), he told me that it was a crazy idea as I did not have the required talent and I was too slow. He was right.

This week my son Manuel recommended me to hear Jo Boaler about learning math (see Hearing her reminds me of my father. It is incredible how far removed is the still XXI century Portuguese educational system from Jo Boaler…and my father. We still teach and learn by infection, instead of passion.

António Câmara
Novembro, 2021

How to Learn Math

Jo Boaler

Jo Boaler is a professor of mathematics education at Stanford and the co-founder of youcubed.

Fotos de Manuel Rosário

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Escrito por

António Câmara, Engenheiro Civil (IST). MSc e Ph.D em Engª de Sistemas Ambientais,Virginia Tech. Post-Doctoral Associate (MIT), Visiting Associate Professor em Virginia Tech. Visiting Research Scholar em Cornell University e MIT. Investigação em simulação, sistemas de informação geográfica, multimedia e realidade virtual. Fundador da Ydreams, empresa que desenvolve soluções de realidade aumentada a nível global.


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