A conversation about trigonometry

Sin2θ + Cos2θ = 1

We all learnt this equation back in high school and its elegant derivation from Pythagorean principles. When was the last time, though, that we used trigonometry in the real world?

I converse everyday, both in my personal as well as professional life. Conversation is the currency of our social capital. The art of making good conversation is an invaluable skill for most of us, regardless of our profession. How many schools today teach us how to converse well?

Trigonometry is easy to teach, with its elegant mathematical proofs. But even to type out that equation above, I had to open a Word document and google the symbol for theta. In our schools, why don’t we simply teach people how to use the existing keys on the keyboard instead? What is school for? Is it merely a place where we teach concepts that are easy to teach? Ones for which we already have textbooks, lesson plans and problems formulated in elegant prose?

I do not dismiss the value of trigonometry. I am only questioning our assumption to teach it universally in place of several skills that are far more universal.

 

2 thoughts on “A conversation about trigonometry

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