February 2020

Collaboration | Competition

Editor's Note

WISAARKHU aims to provide a diversity, not necessarily a jointly exhaustive collection, of perspectives on a chosen theme related to the learning and teaching of Mathematics. It is a magazine for inspiring, for creating awareness, for sharing experiences, for communicating, for connecting, and for reflecting.

It is not a research journal. It does not purport to endorse any particular opinion or approach to the learning and teaching of mathematics. Its readership is intended for all from across the globe with an interest in mathematics.

Each perspective expressed in the content of WISAARKHU is that of the author. It does not purport to reflect the opinions of the editor or Stellenbosch University or the affiliations of the authors.

Each theme aligned with one of the quarterly Psychology of Abstract Mathematics discussions. The choice of each discussion theme is inspired by a challenge encountered in the learning and teaching of mathematics;

In this way the theme ‘Competition or Collaboration in Mathematics’ evolved for the first volume of WISAARKHU. There are four topics each speaking to a sub-theme of the overall theme that evolved from the contributions, namely, perspectives within and beyond mathematics, voices of students, impact on the self, influence on learning and teaching of mathematics. Throughout the magazine you will meet students, mathematicians, teachers, psychologists, educationalists, and others interested in mathematics.

No matter your interest in or experience of Mathematics, I hope you will read this magazine acknowledging the intention with which it has been written.

Prof. Ingrid Rewitzky

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

TOPIC 1: Perspectives Across Disciplines

Video summary done by Mieke Verster

Reflecting on competition

Is it possible to neither accept nor reject the notion of competition? Zurab Janelidze approaches competition from the perspective of abstract mathematics.

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TOPIC 2: What Do Students Say?

Video summary done by Mieke Verster

The Rat Race

Lakshmi reflects on the highly competitive process of college applications into engineering and medical colleges in India. Her article provides a personalised account of the...

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The Winner Takes It All

Triven Govender contends that the idea that competition improves the individual is false because winners are advantaged and 'losers' are disadvantaged.

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The Equation

Cecilia Hernandez writes about the path out of poverty - good grades, getting into college, graduating and finding a well-paying job. She realized that to...

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About the Cover

The portrait was hand-painted by Nino Mekanarishvili.

Human minds are beautiful and very different from each other. Competition, human interaction and such things come from both our minds and our feelings, and that is the beauty of it.

The design contains imperfect symmetries that relate mathematics, art and life with each other. The same portrait in different styles (pointillism, realism and cubism) symbolises the competition in art.

TOPIC 3: Making a Case for the Better Self

Why we climb the mountain?

Daniel Page writes of his belief that it is possible “to leverage our innate competitive drive into behaviour that is healthy, productive and pro-social.”

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Collaboration in Mathematics Olympiads

Dirk Basson emphasizes that even though mathematics Olympiads are competitions, preparation often involves teamwork and that this social aspect of the competition makes the experience...

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What to reward?

Leandro Boonzaaier asks us to question what is rewarded within our academic systems and critically reflect on the metrics that we use to evaluate ourselves.

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Come!

Hosana Ranaivo shares a creative poem on competition and collaboration

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TOPIC 4: On Teaching Mathematics

Teaching in and as a society

Professor Geo Quinot is clear that academic institutions should increase collaboration in teaching and learning in order to tackle complex social problems.

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The Battle of the Memes

Jonathan Shock writes about a different, but very important competition taking place in society today – the competition for the mental space to think about...

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Growing Up A Mathematician

Lourens van Niekerk shares with us his inspiring story of his mathematics journey. He shares with us his initial interest in mathematics that started in...

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