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Dr Amenda Chow is an assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at York University in Toronto, Canada.
1. What’s your earliest memory of doing mathematics?
When I was young and just learning arithmetic, my dad bought me math worksheet books so that I could practice at home. On one occasion, I recall my dad was impressed (and it takes a lot to impress him) with how accurately and speedily I finished each problem. And he was equally impressed with my explanations on how I solved the problems.
2. How has mathematics education changed in the time you have been involved in it?
Outside of teaching math in the traditional classroom, I now see a lot more math enrichment programs that highlight the power, creativity and beauty of mathematics, and more young women engaged in mathematics. Often mathematics is a least favourite subject, but I also find those who do enjoy math continuing to build a strong mathematical community and in so doing, pushing to improve the understanding and value of mathematics to the general public.
3. Tell me about a time in your career when something totally flabbergasted you.
I am often flabbergasted when trying to convince someone who is weak in math that they can excel in math. I truly believe this because math is hard for me too. The reason I know more math than the average person is because I spend a lot of time studying mathematics.
4. Do you practice mathematics differently in company?
When I am around others who are talking about math, I am usually the one listening, watching and hence learning from them. Afterwards, I often find myself reflecting back on that conversation.
5. Do you think a brilliant maths teacher is born or made?
Definitely made! Math is a hard subject even for someone with an affinity for math, and even harder is communicating mathematics effectively. I think the best math teachers are those that work on their craft continuously and patiently and that have a positive outlook.
6. What’s the most fun a mathematician can have?
The satisfactory feeling you get when the math works out! I love that feeling!
7. Do you have a favourite maths joke?
Mostly I prefer jokes in the form of puns. Here is my favourite math joke: How does a cow count? Answer: with a cow-culator! ☺
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