This is the third and final instalment of our 3 part series ‘Are you bad at math ?’ In our previous article we discussed how the only thing differentiating those who consistently do well in math and those who don’t is attitude. ( Click here to read more )
When it comes to mathematics, many of us will be introduced into its vast world by a teacher. Our own attitudes aside, teachers can greatly impact our outlook on any subject, math included. If a teacher adopts a bad approach when teaching a student, they can very possibly perpetuate the students existing negative mindset regarding the subject.
The founder of Synergy Academies, Dr. Randy Palisoc reckons that our math difficulties root from the dehumanised teaching approach taken. He believes that if teachers are able to help students see that math is no different from any other language and is just another way of communication, students will be able to recognise their talents sooner and approach the subject with a generally better attitude. Mathematician Eddie Woo expresses a similar take on this, by comparing mathematics to one of our 5 senses. In his TEDxSydney talk, he states,
“ Naturally some people are born with sharper sense than the rest of us; others are born with impairment. As you can see, I drew a short straw in the genetic lottery when it came to my eyesight. Without my glasses everything is a blur. I've wrestled with this sense my entire life, but I would never dream of saying, 'Well, seeing has always been a struggle for me. I guess I'm just not a seeing kind of person.’ ”
These statements are however nothing more than metaphors. These metaphors although not to be taken literally, they both imply the same and very truthful fact; the current teaching methods should be changed, making math look less like foreign symbols and numbers on a white board, rather approaching it as an exploration into a new world for students.
PSLEMath embraces this fact and it is reflected in our teaching process. When a young child starts their math journey with us, we aim to open their eyes to the world of math. By providing a systematic programme, that slowly introduces each topic and concept to them, they will see the bigger picture. Over time, they will sub-consciously learn how to apply the different concepts taught across their tested topics, allowing them to tackle a variety of questions with ease. This is what we call the Matrix Method. We don’t teach our students to just be good at math, we teach them to be problem solvers.
At the end of the day, no one is born bad at math. The first thing that needs to be changed stems from within. Our attitudes towards the subject play a huge role in helping us achieve our personal best. Current teaching approaches will also have to be changed in order for students to fully appreciate and excel in the subject.