“Math is tough. There’s simply doubt about it. It’s a subject that’s made ONLY for those smart kids with smart glasses; not for me.”
Okay; now you might feel a little uncomfortable after reading that small passage at the top of this article, but you’ve got to know at the same time that those feelings are quite common in modern day kids especially when they seem to struggle badly with math.
So are they a part of your problem? They probably are, but if you continue to see them in this manner, you will never be able to come to a solution.
Remember, you have to turn these problems into a part of your solution for the overall good of your students, and the first step to do that is to determine the source of these problems as clearly as possible.
So why do you think math is universally considered a difficult subject? Let’s see.
The presence of abstract concepts or topics
Let’s not kid ourselves by denying the obvious.
Math is a subject that’s full of abstract topics, concepts, principles and ideas that students often fail to connect with the real world.
If you want examples, there are many. Here’s one:
Take trigonometry; the world of sines, cosines, tans, cots, secs, and cosecs. Do you honestly think students can easily find a connection between those meaningless terms and the real world?
What does “sin x” signify in the real world? Nothing!
But it does mean a LOT in the math textbook. Hence, your students slowly start to develop this idea that all these math concepts work only in the textual world; NOT in real life. Slowly but steadily they start losing interest in the subject, and their performance suffers drastically as a result of the same.
You, as their tutor, must take the responsibility to make them see the connection between mathematics and the real world.
You have to explain the different applications of different math concepts (such as trigonometry is used to calculate heights and distances of real world objects that are too difficult to measure by hand) in thorough details.
If you are up for the task, you’ll see positive results in no time.
The magic of influences
“He says it’s difficult. And he’s the smartest lad in class. If he says it’s difficult, it must be.”
Wonderful! You see the student didn’t even go for a try. S/he came to that conclusion just because the smartest (Is he really?) kid in the class said so.
Influences play a big role in bogging down confidence in kids. It directly affects the mentality of students and injects fear in them before they even know it.
To be honest, you cannot stop all such influences on your own. But there’s a thing that you can do to get the odds in your favor.
Convince the child to try things out, no matter what the circumstances. Tell them to believe only what they see; not what people tell them.
Try to inculcate these things in kids from a very young age to benefit in the long run. Parents need to take more responsibility and make all the differences they can do to pave the way for him/her to a better future.
A procedure-oriented teaching
Mathematics is mostly taught in schools in the form of a procedure. This makes the entire session dull and thoroughly unentertaining from the point of view of the students.
It’s one of the commonest reasons behind statements like:
“Geometry is so boring that it’s even better to watch paint dry.”
Say “no” to procedure-oriented sessions. It’s not constructive in any way whatsoever. Unless and until the underlying logic becomes clear to the kid, the procedures won’t do him much good to improve his/her results in the long run.
Logic-based learning is the only thing that counts. Even if time constraints become an issue for you, you need to go down this route for the betterment of your students. Are you up for the job?
Last but not the least, a worthy mention must go to exam pressure coupled with a ridiculous time limit. Those two do play a major role in wrecking havoc on the confidence of a kid resulting in things like anxiety, stress, and demotivation. Things like that do more harm than good in real life.
So that’s it then. We hope you found this article handy for your purpose. It’s time to bring this article to an end for now. Ciao!
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