The End of the Term

I wasn’t not a big fan of writing, but has the course changed my mind?

Well, as Sara mentioned in a class, only 2% of mathies like writing, plus statistics shows that moving from the 98% to the 2% in three months is highly unlikely. So long story short, NO, I still don’t like writing. And my report so far looks like this…

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But one thing I did learn from this class is the power of languages and the necessity of rhetoric triangle, namely ethos, pathos and logos. I actually read the book “Rhetoric” by Aristotle (honestly, I finished 50% of it and understood the 50% of the 50% and maybe my understanding was incorrect on the 50% of the 50% of the 50%) and was surprised by the fact that what an ancient Greek figured out thousands of years ago can still be proven to be true today (old but gold isn’t it?).

Newton’s laws were considered as flawless universally until Einstein developed the theory of relativity, which I personally believe will be proven to be incomplete in another universe somewhen in the future. But what Aristotle said, the rhetoric triangle, was, is, and will still be useful as long as we live as human beings. (wait, I think it may also be true among other creatures as well)

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Then, we moved into TED talks, a stage where we were able to see the power of the triangle. One thing people keeps telling is the importance of good presentation skills, but the real question here is why these skills matter and where do they locate in terms of the three aspects under the triangle. I made five presentations this semester and used the “rhetorical” way of thinking to prepare every single one of them. Some of them were great (like the one we gave in this class), some of them were just ok. But the point I learned from these presentations is: the more you prepare, the more you use rhetoric to think, the better you present. I like presenting because I enjoy the magic power of languages.

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Last but not least, I want to thank you, Sara, for giving us those amazing lectures throughout the term. As you are moving to B.C (and probably thinking: “finally, I can get rid of the boring mathies in Waterloo”), we wish you all the best in your new place. Milan Kundera once said in his book “life is elsewhere”: it’s a world of saying goodbye, but no one’s good at doing so.

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1 Comment

  1. Mathies are NOT boring, ever! 119 was one of the toughest classes i ever taught, because all the students have different needs. This post is really well done. I am impressed and was really entertained! You also shared a great deal of knowledge – well done!

    Like

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