What is the most important thing you learn at University?

To add to my previous blog-post on “what is the most important thing we learn at University”: the fact that mathematics graduates have learnt to think (as well as learnt to think logically, and critically) and have experience in learning complex difficult new material is one of the main attractions to employers. See this Cambridge Maths Admissions leaflet for some “destinations” information and data on average salaries.

Think for yourself

A friend recently suggested to me that we should perhaps tell students earlier what she was told by her professor in Germany only in her third year or so.

The most important thing you learn at University is how to learn.

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Mathematical definitions

Many students starting to study mathematics need some time until they realise the exact role of formal definitions in (esp. pure) mathematics. I love how Lara Alcock puts it: “when mathematicians state a definition, they really mean it.” (How to Study for a Mathematics Degree, OUP 2012, Chapter 3). Continue reading

Learning mathematics at Uni

This year, in my Groups IA course in Cambridge, I am trying to sprinkle my lectures with useful facts about how to think about mathematics, how to learn mathematics, and how to develop good intuitions as well as good working habits. I will try to post these thoughts on this blog as I go along. Most of these ideas come from a brilliant book by Lara Alcock, “How to Study for a Mathematics Degree”. To quote from her introduction: “Part 1 could be called ‘Things that your mathematics lecturer might not think to tell you.'”

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How Cambridge Maths supports the growth mindset

As I have been preparing for the new academic year over the past summer, I have been discovering the concepts of growth mindset and maths mindset mainly through the book “Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching” by Jo Boaler from Stanford. It is an amazing read and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

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