After graduating in mathematics from the university of Louvain (Belgium), Marie Milis obtained a Master of Arts in "mathematics, with special emphasis in math education" at the University of Washington (Seattle – USA) on a Fulbright scholarship. While in Seattle, she lived in a Zen monastery.
She teaches mathematics and religion in a school for young people with difficult backgrounds, multiple failures and exclusions. She gives special attention to the meaning of mistakes made while learning mathematics.
With her husband she has created an association called "Initiations", offering workshops and retreats dealing with personal growth and spirituality.
When, occasionally, I translate Japanese Zen masters' speeches into French, I always explain that shin translated into mind, is not reducible to esprit. A Japanese pronounces shin with awe and emotion, whereas in the Enlightenment (!) era of the 18th century the word esprit lost its sense of wholeness. Esprit, aiming at rationality and efficiency, is devoid of heart and emotion. How about mind in mathematics? I encounter young people as well as adults who experience difficulties with mathematics. What do their mistakes tell us about the way to progress in the subject? What makes them falter and tumble? Rather than pursuing maths with the aim of efficiency, my work is to discover what leads the beginner's mind to go astray in mathematics.What are the steps, jumps, digressions, failings back and advances? What does the learner go through? How can the learner build upon experience in confronting the problems he or she faces? How can we design new methods of teaching from the observation of their struggles?
Workshops: The learning of mathematics can stimulate the development of the individual both in himself and towards others. Mathematics are tools which can be used to transform oneself and one’s relationships to others. While students become proficient in solving mathematical problems, they evolve and reevaluate themselves, transforming a pattern of failure, doubts and flight into self-confidence and pride.
Solving a mathematical problem by trial and error, without being judged,teaches a great deal more than just mathematics.
No prerequisites are required. Those who love mathematics and those who suffer(ed) from it are equally welcome in both workshops.
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