FOIL is Verboten

My students and I have a habit of referring to the act of multiplying two binomial forms as FOILing, recalling the acronym FOIL (First, Outer, Inner, Last) for remembering the process.  My excuse for using the term  is that they use it all the time and their excuse is that I use it all the time.  And I really don’t mind using it in class.  They get the point  immediately. However I have officially banned the term from their written work.  “FOIL” doesn’t belong in formal English.  It is imprecise and sounds young.  I think what pushed me over the edge was when I found the term, “reverse FOIL,”  on a student’s paper.

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About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
This entry was posted in Classroom Happenings, Pedagogy, Rants, Teaching and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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