Haha. For what it’s worth, as someone who’s done graduate study in math at Berkeley and been a computer scientist and engineer for over a decade (yes, including JavaScript), I agree with the spirit of this comment more than that of the original post. Absolutely, there are important insights around commutativity of multiplication (how three fives and five threes mean different things but total to the same number), but “gotcha”-style instruction, where people use hairsplitting to seem smarter, is generally counterproductive to education. Good instruction is about coaching clarity and style of thought, including clarifying questions and discussing technical definitions for what they are — human conventions — rather than about opportunities to prove you’re right.

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