Before teaching at St George's RC School in Enfield, I taught craft level Electronics, Maths and Literacy at Southgate College in North London, England; the students included some school leavers and adults with very weak general educational background. Through many years of experience, I gradually came to the conclusion than a number of students were failing the course as a result of weakness in basic Mathematics and of course English. In order to get advice in this area of Mathematics teaching, I made contact with Professor Warwick W. Sawyer in June 1993 and maintained contact with him and his late wife Betty.
Professor Sawyer has given me much encouragement in my teaching endeavours and has given much time and effort in responding to my various observations and questions. I had wanted for years to being able to disseminate his work but no clear idea presented itself until after I had set up two websites as an expression of some of my interests.
This present website was initially set up as a means to provide convenient notes for my students but I have not used for this purpose up to the present time. However once this website was in place, I decided to put it at the service of Professor Sawyer. Initially the latter's presence on the website has been to communicate issues of particular contemporary concern to him. However, I have now felt that an additional use for the site is as an "archive" for Professor Sawyer's published work. This is a very large task and I am doing the best I can to get material onto the site as quickly as possible. I hope in the future, others with greater experience will be able to improve and extend what I am starting.
I am grateful to the various Mathematical Associations and Institutes which have published Professor Sawyer's various articles. I am already giving mention of these on the site and providing appropriate links to them.
It is only very recently that I came to realize an additional role that Professor Sawyer has had in contemporary Mathematics Education. Everybody these days knows the vital importance that Mathematics has assumed now in Basic Skills, Numeracy and Key Skills and the vaste amount of government money that is being pumped into them both here and in the U.S.A. There are indications that the present lack of mathematical skills in young people (and even adults!) are due to a failure in mathematical educational policies in the USA and UK as far back as the nineteen sixties. I am finding it of immense interest to learn that both the late Professor Sawyer and the late Professor Morris Kline have been prophetic voices "crying in the wilderness" since then. I am looking forward to adding material by both these people as time permits.
Mark Alder - Web Master
Site originated: 25 February 2000
Copyright © Mark Alder & Named Authors 2008