Proposal: Mathematics Learning, Studying, and Education

This thread is to vote on the name for this Stack Exchange. Before voting, you may want to read the first discussion and second discussion on this issue.

How to vote.

  1. Upvote as many candidates as you'd like.

  2. Feel free to downvote as well.

  3. Feel free to change your votes as long as the voting remains open.

How to propose a name.

You can propose a name by posting it as an "answer". Please propose only one name per post. (You can propose multiple names using multiple posts.)

Further rules.

  1. Discussion of names in the comment section is encouraged, but please restrict "answers" to proposed names.

  2. Since activity has slowed down a bit, I think the vote should remain open for at least two weeks (until the end of February). If no clear winner emerges, we might want to leave it open for longer.

EDIT ON 2/28: It is now the end of Feburary, and "Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy" and "Math Educators" are currently tied. Given this state of affairs I suggest continuing the vote for at least another week (until 3/7).

In addition, several people have expressed in the comments that they prefer "Mathematics Educators" to "Math Educators". If "Math Educators" wins over "Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy", I propose a separate runoff vote between "Math Educators" and "Mathematics Educators".

EDIT ON 3/3: Well, the moderators have changed the name to "Mathematics Educators", since it is currently ahead in the vote. (I think they wanted to make sure to change the name before we reached 100% commitment.) Thanks for participating, everyone!

  • I've proposed my two favorite names below. Please add more proposed names! See here for a list of names proposed in the first discussion thread. – Jim Belk Feb 15 '14 at 0:17
  • Also, see here for a list of names of all the current Stack Exchange sites. – Jim Belk Feb 15 '14 at 0:19
  • In my opinion it is a bit strange that you start the vote and seed it with your proposals, especially when there are others around that already got some support too. Either start with a somewhat comprehensive list, or an empty one (and wait before making your own proposals). – quid Feb 15 '14 at 13:38
  • @quid That's a reasonable complaint -- I should have waited before proposing any names. My apologies. – Jim Belk Feb 15 '14 at 20:46
  • Thanks for the reply. It should not change that much in the end. But at that moment I found it quite upsetting, rather more than necessary. Sorry about that. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 23:11
  • Is it possible to "bump" this somehow? Certainly the new name isn't decided, but the current name is at the bottom of the list... – mme Feb 21 '14 at 7:55
  • 1
    I'm not sure where to post this... I can't yet vote here but I'd like to do so, who should I contact to get started here? – James S. Cook Feb 24 '14 at 4:18
  • @JamesS.Cook Go to the main site and click the "Commit" button on the left. – Jim Belk Feb 24 '14 at 4:52
  • 4
    Here is the current up/down vote balance: M T&P 24 - 6; M Educators 20 - 3; M education 11 - 3; Didactics 5 - 2; Communicating 6 - 4; Teaching 0 - 3; Instruction 0 - 3; M LSE 1 - 6. [Source: Mansihearth in MO chat; scrrenshot will dissapear so I wont link it here.] – quid Mar 2 '14 at 0:22
  • 1
    Perhaps instead of waiting a week, we should let this run until we reach our 200 committed members - this may take more or less than a week, but it ends voting 'right before' we start beta. – mme Mar 2 '14 at 6:40
  • 1
    @JimBelk from another quick look at the examples: pro T&P: 1, 2 and 3. In general questions on how to approach a subject, asked from a self-learner's or student's point of view who is not yet an expert on the topic, e.g. a tutor (which happens to be my point of view). – Valryne Mar 2 '14 at 23:47
  • 3
    In all honesty, I find the process rather tedious. I may well remove my vote from T&P just to give Mathematics Educators a clear majority. – mme Mar 3 '14 at 0:15
  • 1
    Yeah, me too! If it were just for me I might delete my answer :-) [Just feels somehow inappropriate as I do not "own" the votes.] Also you keep sayin a clear winner should emerge, but first never say what you would consider a clear winner, and second never said why this is necessary or even desirable. In my mind, what we really need is at least one name that has a lot of approval and rather little opposition. If we have more than one fulfilling that, so what, take whatever. – quid Mar 3 '14 at 0:40
  • 1
    It does seem likely at this point that "Math Educators" will be winning out over "Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy". Perhaps we should go ahead and have a side vote on the "Math" vs. "Mathematics" issue? – Jim Belk Mar 3 '14 at 2:22
  • 1
    I started a side-vote on the math(ematics) question (this does not mean this vote should end; the other one can be considered as "in case it is relevant") – quid Mar 3 '14 at 12:05

The main challenge is making it clear to those who stumble across this that this isn't a "math education" place where students and teachers gather to work out homework problems.

Be more direct in identifying your audience.

This site should be called:

Math Educators

Proposed Q&A site for those involved in the field of teaching mathematics.

Anything trying to describe the activity ('Education', 'Teaching', 'Instruction', etc) is going to be completely ambiguous whether it is referring to the teacher or student end of things. It would be like trying to describe a site for professional tax preparers as "Tax Preparation." Confusing.

This makes it completely clear who the target audience is.

  • 2
    The pitfall is that most other SE sites are named by their subjects, not by the target audience. One notable example is Cross Validated, the statistics SE. But I think that stepping a bit away from rearranging the words learning, teaching, education, didactics, pedagogics and mathematics might solve the naming dilemma. – Roland Feb 26 '14 at 15:15
  • 7
    Understood, but I'll take clarity over upholding the pattern of naming which clearly breaks down here. You can see the confusion and misunderstanding throughout the related discussions. If we cannot clearly express (in a title) what this site is about, it is going to be very difficult getting this to "work." – Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '14 at 15:22
  • Yup, breaking the common naming pattern seems like a good idea and was done before. My agreement with your suggestion is reflected by the upvote. – Roland Feb 26 '14 at 15:26
  • 6
    I could live with that name. But would prefer mathematics over math (might also sidestep a discussion if it should not be maths instead :-) ). Also I would somehow prefer teachers over educators, but the latter is admittedly a bit more general. – quid Feb 26 '14 at 15:58
  • If you allow a meta comment. So, now, your name suggestions seems to presuppose a target audience different from the currently specified one. There might or might not be a consensus to have this audience you suppose. But in any case it appears it would be necessary to know te target audience before coming to this name you suggest here, in contrast to what you tried to explain me when I tried to discuss what the audience should be discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/13182/… – quid Feb 26 '14 at 16:03
  • 1
    This is a clever suggestion that arguably solves the main problem with all the other candidates. In addition, I like that the tone is both welcoming (because of the straightforward "math") and professional (since "educator" is a term used mostly by those in the profession). – Jim Belk Feb 26 '14 at 16:09
  • @quid If you like "mathematics educators" or "mathematics teachers" better, why not propose them as candidates? – Jim Belk Feb 26 '14 at 16:11
  • 2
    @JimBelk because I still prefer the subject over the persons in the title and think it is a bit too much to propose every possible variation. Incidentally this is why I was not really in favor of having a vote to begin with but rather would have preferred more a solution by discussion, or in any case more discussion beforehand. But alas somebody started a vote... ;-) – quid Feb 26 '14 at 16:16
  • 2
    While I like how this avoids the problems of attracting the wrong people, I dislike that it explicitly excludes students interested in learning strategies and self-learners and some others. Also, though suggestions including pedagogy or didactics may not be most effective in avoiding attracting the wrong people, I think that they do so sufficiently. – Wrzlprmft Feb 26 '14 at 16:35
  • This and the Pedagogy title are the only two I particularly like. Between the two, I don't have a preference; I think both do fine in communicating both the target audience and content I have in mind (not, of course, necessarily what the community has in mind). – mme Feb 26 '14 at 17:12
  • 3
    (1) Is this meant to be international or US centric? Calling mathematics math is a US thing. There's nothing I can do about Math.SE but does this have to carry over here? (2) This name completely excludes students. Have we all agreed that the target audience is only teachers? That's not my understanding. – Geoff Pointer Feb 26 '14 at 22:10
  • 1
    @Roland: The very curious ones might not be distracted, but a lot of people will. For example, a lot of people (though maybe too few) who consider to ask a question on a Stack Exchange (or a similar site), will at least spend some time to find out whether this is the right place or, with other words, whether their question is on-topic. With this title, most of those people will quickly decide that they are not welcome and not even read the subtitle (“Q&A site for …”), which makes things even worse. – Wrzlprmft Feb 26 '14 at 22:12
  • 3
    @quid Fair enough. I suppose if this becomes the clear favorite, we could have a runoff between "math educators" and "mathematics educators". – Jim Belk Feb 27 '14 at 0:35
  • 2
    @quid On the subject of starting the vote -- in my mind the main advantage of a vote is that it attracts more attention and participation than just a discussion. Unlike a vote at a department meeting, discussion here doesn't need to end when a vote is called! – Jim Belk Feb 27 '14 at 0:44
  • 4
    Were this one to win, I would prefer the full name "Mathematics Educators" as well. – mme Feb 27 '14 at 1:22

Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy

  • 3
    This follows the discussion we had on this answer; that it is a slight tatotology is intentional. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 13:15
  • 2
    Too many words to not say enough. – Geoff Pointer Feb 15 '14 at 14:58
  • 2
    This says plenty, and there's nothing wrong with words. – mme Feb 16 '14 at 2:54
  • Who is saying there is something wrong with words? – Geoff Pointer Feb 17 '14 at 4:18
  • 3
    I like this suggestion a lot. The word "pedagogy" helps to clarify "teaching", and also gives the name a nice bit of formality. – Jim Belk Feb 24 '14 at 4:57

Mathematics Education


  • All embracing of teachers, students and theoreticians alike. – Geoff Pointer Feb 15 '14 at 4:08
  • As explained in more detail on this answer this name could be/is quite non-intuitive for some nonnative speakers (and perhaps even for some native speakers). I consider this as problematic for an international site. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 13:10
  • It is none the less correct and appropriate use of English. – Geoff Pointer Feb 15 '14 at 15:00
  • @GeoffPointer since not only did I not claim otherwise but explicitly acknowledged this, your comment seems completely besides the point and simply there to dodge the argument. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 18:21
  • @quid It's not beside the point at all in the context of my vote right here. It's one of the reasons it has my vote. – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 1:19
  • I've had more than ten years experience teaching maths and physics to international students, mostly from Asian countries, but that in itself already encompasses a vast variety in culture. English, in terms of sheer volume of usage, has recently surpassed French as the international language. How much should the English language itself have to change in that process? A part of learning a new language necessarily involves not literally translating but learning the differences in meanings of what may seem the same words to start with. I'm trying to learn French currently - I know what it's like. – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 1:26
  • @quid: What exactly do you find not "fitting" with "Education"? And how is "Pedagogy" better? They are virtual synonyms in English. The only real difference it that "pedagogy" is obscure to most native speakers. – Jon Ericson Feb 25 '14 at 23:53
  • @JonEricson I consider it is an advantage the one is more obscure with the general public! As pointed out elsewhere many many people do actually not know what mathematics education really means, this was specifically said by Pete L. Clark, native speaker and very active on math.SE and MO since years, while some might think they know. And actually this wrong believe causes (will cause) problems. So, better a name that might signal to people they have no business asking on the site. See also discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/13182 – quid Feb 26 '14 at 9:36
  • @JonEricson To make the above more clear. A if not the main danger for this site will be to get swamped by traffic that should actually go to math.SE. The current name encouraged this; some of the early debates here proved this. The proposal mathematics education is better but does not enough aganinst this. For what I find not "fitting", I discussed this at the link I gave in some detail. It is difficult if not impossible to explain as I admitted there what "exactly" it is (in English) since it is a translation problem. – quid Feb 26 '14 at 9:42
  • @JonEricson Words translationg education would not commonly be used in a compound with math, but with other things, like music or physical education. But I repeat things I said elsewhere. Actually it is not clear to me why you comment here, using a formulation I used on the link, rather then continuing the debate there where I explain various of these things. But forget about the translation aspect if you like. If you say they are synonym and pedagogy is more obscure, this is enough reason for me to prefer it, especially in combination with the universally understood teaching. – quid Feb 26 '14 at 9:51
  • @quid: Ah. I think somewhat obscure names can be useful, as you say. One thing that I can't make out from what you have said is what language you are translating to and from. – Jon Ericson Feb 26 '14 at 18:24
  • @JonEricson quid deliberately chose a gender-neutral pronoun from a dead language to avoid any attempts at identification. – Brian Rushton Feb 26 '14 at 19:04
  • @JonEricson While Brian Rushton is somehow right, I think other languages I know are anyway visible from some contributions (or at least from the type of errors I make :-) ) so: the closest analog of education in German for example is Erziehung, the word Mathematikerziehung is basically inexistant (try a Google search) and compare with Musikerziehung (the difference in number of hits for me are more than three orders of ganitude, two hundred something vs four hundred thousand). Also Bildung another word used to translate, is not really used in this context. ... – quid Feb 26 '14 at 20:18
  • ...Ausbildung might get some use, but Mathematikausbildung or mathematische Ausbildung would still rather mean something else, namely the collection of courses in math offered to somebody or somewhere. Here a link to ETH Zürich one of the if not the leading math institution in the German speaking world "Didaktik der Mathematik", is what they use so didactics of mathematics. The word Ausbildung is there but rather as "the education-program in didactics of mathematics." – quid Feb 26 '14 at 20:23
  • 1
    And also in French education, or rather éducation, is not really used in this way. If you do a master in mathematics that will prepare you to be a high-school teacher than this is rather called a master 'enseignement' not 'éducation'. And people that teach something would be called enseignant not éducateur. And also in German Erzieher and Ausbildner both exist and mean slightly different things, but neither would be used to refer to somebody teaching math in school or at the university, that'd be a Lehrer, Professor, Pädagoge. forgotten link math.ethz.ch/didaktik – quid Feb 26 '14 at 20:35

Communicating mathematics

(This would include both teaching questions and also questions related to writing good papers and giving talks. Sample questions could include "How detailed of a proof should I give of my main result in a 50 minute job talk?")

  • 1
    I like the inviting and welcoming tone of this one. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 19:11
  • I like this one too, both for the tone and for the way that it would expand the purview of the site. Would anyone be willing to post an example question or two relating to this theme? – Jim Belk Feb 15 '14 at 20:52
  • @JimBelk good idea! I posted a question area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/64216/… (I think the q, is not very original and a bit vague, but nothing better came to mind at the moment, so a failure of it shoud not discredit the entire idea). – quid Feb 15 '14 at 23:05
  • Sounds good but doesn't seem expansive enough to me. In my university for example the maths school has a third year subject that focusses on communicating mathematics. It's just one subject and is neither about learning nor teaching mathematics. The physics school has a similar subject for communicating physics. Their main aim relates to writing papers, speaking at seminars and communicating with your academic peers. This is just one topic amongst many appropriate to the proposed site. – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 1:34

Didactics of Mathematics

This focuses more strongly on the teaching audience than on the learning audience than "Mathematics Education" in two ways: Firstly, mathematics is not the leading term, but the teaching part is. Secondly, using "didactics" instead of "teaching" might prevent some ambiguity.


Mathematics Teaching


  • Joel Reyes Noche mentioned there is clash of names with an existing journal see discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/a/13225/101186 and coniders this as a problem. Any opinion in this? – quid Feb 15 '14 at 13:16
  • This is not broad enough. – Geoff Pointer Feb 15 '14 at 14:57
  • I should perhaps augment my commet to add that when faced with the choice between teaching, education, and instruction I would take this one any time. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 19:04
  • My point is that in the English language, teaching is on one side of a relationship and learning is on the other. I would hope that this new site attracted both practicing teachers and learners and theoreticians about both ends. – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 1:11
  • @GeoffPointer actually there was some discussion that the site is not so much for learners, but mainly for teachers, and especially that the name should make this clear. So, this is by design. – quid Feb 16 '14 at 1:40
  • @quid Doesn't "not so much" need to be quantified? Is there a consensus that we don't want learners here at all? If not, then they have to be included some how. Current philosophies of education in many countries involve inclusiveness of the learner in the teaching process. I'm constantly adjusting my teaching methods based on student participation and feedback. This is one huge reason why the word "instruction" has fallen out of favour. At the very least I would be hoping to get some student feedback through discussion on this site. – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 1:50
  • @GeoffPointer Did you already read discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/a/13104/101186 especially Pete L. Clark's comments or the discussion I started to that end discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/13182/… If not you might start there. – quid Feb 16 '14 at 1:59
  • @quid Yes. I hadn't left comments so I went back and did so, just to make sure. I've had a lot of experience working for institutions with large numbers of staff and a long time to get used to considering a variety of view points. My opinions are considered and based on years of discussion with many people in a wide variety of situations. I'm stubborn, but I've also lost count of the number of times I've changed my mind about many things along the way in the face of good reasons to do so. My favourite quote: "The mind is like a parachute, it only works if it's opened first." – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 5:06

Mathematics instruction

(A synonym of mathematics teaching)

  • Instruction like in drill instructor? One! Two! Three! :-) More seriously, does anybody use that word commonly? To me it seems very strange. – quid Feb 15 '14 at 19:06
  • 2
    @quid It doesn't seem strange to me. For example, colleges commonly use the word "instructor" to refer to the professor for a class. (Of course, this doesn't mean that I like the name. Somehow it seems narrower than the other choices.) – Jim Belk Feb 15 '14 at 20:51
  • My familiarity with the use of the word instruction is like a step in a cooking recipe, a step in an integration method, or telling someone to sit down is an instruction. It's certainly not commonly used as a synonym for teaching these days. It may have been 50 years ago, but not any more. – Geoff Pointer Feb 16 '14 at 1:15

Mathematics Learning, Studying, and Education

  • 1
    This is the present name for the site. As I explain in this post, I would prefer to avoid having the word "learning" in the title, so I'm not in favor of this name. – Jim Belk Feb 15 '14 at 0:12
  • 1
    This is too wordy. – Geoff Pointer Feb 15 '14 at 14:56
  • It's too long for name of a site. We should use words which have bigger meanings. – Hoseyn Heydari Mar 2 '14 at 10:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .