Mathematical Reasoning and Rhetoric

Friday, June 26 | 10:30-11:15am

Too many students graduate from classical schools able to compose persuasive and eloquent theses in everything other than mathematics. Their encounter with mathematical proofs is often limited to a high school geometry course preceded by some kind of disconnected prelude in middle school logic. The proofs they encounter thereafter are often in the form of masterful arguments presented by textbooks and teachers rather than collaboratively composed by the students themselves. If we hope (and we should) to equip students with the mindset, desire, and tools needed to compose persuasive and eloquent mathematical arguments then we must integrate more opportunities for students to exercise mathematical reasoning and refine their mathematical rhetoric across our curriculum. 

These opportunities should certainly include formal and rigorous proof writing in the later years but will more often take on the form of informal and dynamic conversation and problem-solving across all grades. In this session I will present a series of examples spanning the K-12 curriculum and demonstrating the possibility of teaching students how to compose sound mathematical arguments while also refining their rhetoric.

Andrew Elizalde

Academic Dean & Math Department Chair
Covenant Classical School

Andrew Elizalde earned his B.A. at Depauw University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, earned a math major, physics minor, and religious studies minor, and received the H.E.H. Greenleaf award as the most outstanding 2001 graduate of the school’s mathematics program. He later obtained a teaching credential from California State University Long Beach with a professional-clear qualification for his coursework regarding exceptional children and technology integration. His teaching experience includes work in both public and private schools in subjects ranging from 5th grade mathematics to advanced calculus and physics. He now serves as the Dean of Academics at Covenant Classical School in Forth Worth, Texas. His work in classical schools most notably includes reforming mathematics programs and building professional learning communities. Andrew also offers consulting services to classical Christian schools and maintains his website