One problem I have experienced is that children will usually develop a distaste for “mathematics” in their first school years, when they are basically doing arithmetic (addition, place values, times-table, fractions, …), and when they reach a level where they might be doing some kind of mathematics (geometry, algebra, probability) they have decided that “mathematics” is not for them, and would not be interested in any creative work. I’m not sure how to solve this, some kind of arithmetic is necessary for everyday life, and starting 1st grade with set theory will probably also not work. Maybe there should be an explicit point where students are made clear that they have progressed from simple, applied arithmetic to general mathematics. But a lot of it depends on the role of teachers and their own mathematical understanding. It is a lot easer to reproduce a system one was brought up in than to rethink it.

I related so hard to this. I absolutely love math yet had a horrible experience with it in grade school and then avoided it in college.

Reengaging with math as an adult I have discovered that the math I remembered from youth is not the math to be found now.

One problem I have experienced is that children will usually develop a distaste for “mathematics” in their first school years, when they are basically doing arithmetic (addition, place values, times-table, fractions, …), and when they reach a level where they might be doing some kind of mathematics (geometry, algebra, probability) they have decided that “mathematics” is not for them, and would not be interested in any creative work. I’m not sure how to solve this, some kind of arithmetic is necessary for everyday life, and starting 1st grade with set theory will probably also not work. Maybe there should be an explicit point where students are made clear that they have progressed from simple, applied arithmetic to general mathematics. But a lot of it depends on the role of teachers and their own mathematical understanding. It is a lot easer to reproduce a system one was brought up in than to rethink it.