|DON O'SHEA, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075, USA|
|The glory and perversity of us|
Mathematics has an image problem. I contend that much of that problem stems from myths that we have internalized about the discipline, the profession, and ourselves. These myths go largely unexamined and unchallenged, and often work great harm.
In particular, I talk about the notion that mathematics is inherently hierarchical, that there is a right way of teaching a topic, that mathematics is a young man's game or a sacred calling. I analyse the rather limited ways in which we talk about what we do and what we teach and ought to teach, and I study how these constrict our curricular offerings. I give examples of what seems to work and what does not, of when we excel and when we shoot ourselves in the foot.