November 12, 2015
Your attitude, … or rather, your “Mathitude”, is very important to whether you succeed in learning mathematics. That’s right. What you think about math is probably the most important factor in a student’s long term success in math. And today, math is more important than ever for the job market and for simply making sense of the world. Here’s what us parents, teachers and students have to get right about how we learn math:
- No one is genetically gifted, or born good at math. Acquiring math skills takes hard work, preparation and practice. Anyone can be good at math under the right circumstances and with the right work ethic.
- Parents’ attitudes toward math is really important. It is important that us parents model how to struggle through a problem until we solve it, and that mistakes are learning opportunities, not evidence that we “are dumb at math.” It is important that parents maintain a positive attitude toward math instead of a defeatist attitude or fear of math.
- Learning math requires that we look for math around us and for realistic problems to solve. Talk about math at the grocery store, when making decisions about what to buy, or how good your gas mileage is for example.
- Learning math requires that we make it hands on, engaging and fun. If it isn’t, students simply won’t invest the time into practice and commit to solving problems as they get tougher. Games for example, are more effective in engaging kids, providing practice and timely feedback than the old school math drills and timed tests.
Here’s some helpful resources:
- The Myth of “I’m bad at math” (Atlantic, 2013)
- Making Math Children Will Love (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2014)
- What Does Good Math Instruction Look Like? (NAESP, 2009)
- Timed Tests and the Development of Math Anxiety (Edweek, 2009)
Contributed by Mr. Woelders