Why “I’ll Never Use This” Is a Wrong Approach to Math

Unfortunately, nowadays there are lots of people considering Math as a dull, hard, non-intuitive subject, which is absolutely useless in real life.  More than that, Mathematics lacks appreciation in...

Unfortunately, nowadays there are lots of people considering Math as a dull, hard, non-intuitive subject, which is absolutely useless in real life.  More than that, Mathematics lacks appreciation in many countries and its necessity to be taught at school is questionable.

So, should math be taught at school?

Definitely! Math is the language most science is written in, besides, a person can do nothing in economy or society without it. Math is actually the way of thinking and solving problems, which relies on common sense and logic. It provides pupils with the tools for describing, analyzing and changing the world. In fact, there’s no chance to state “I’ll never use this”. The knowledge of Mathematics is fundamental for economics, engineering, and technology. No economic or technical report writing is possible without figures, calculations and numeric data.

Math, physics, chemistry, biology and other natural sciences are just different ways to understand how various facets of the world around function. Math develops an individual’s mind and can actually be considered a unique tool for human intellectual growth. So, compulsory math education is essential for the progress and development of society in a broad sense.

Problems of mathematics.

Unfortunately, official statistics about 10 years ago revealed an extremely poor situation with math knowledge among the students from the US and other countries. Only 23% of twelfth graders scored at or above the proficient level in Math, 60% of community college students had to take minimum one additional “developmental” course before applying to college-level classes. Such educational situation cannot be considered a problem of a single element, but that of the whole system and it should be resolved.

The major aspects of the problem, which should be addressed in the first turn, are the following:

  1. According to the experts, modern content standards are too voluminous, being at the same time scattered and repetitive. The same topics are repeated year after year. The methodology of focusing on a few topics each year studied in greater depth has proved to be more effective and should be applied.
  2. It should be designed in such a way that students would be able to understand whole numbers, fractions, measurement and basic geometry by eighth grade. At present many of students fail to know the multiplication table and the teachers blame it for calculator overuse.
  3. Graduation requirements. Though the number of courses that are obligatory for students, increases, graduation score remains almost the same over years. To improve the results, graduation rates should be raised.
  4. The course books should be more focused and cover fewer topics, but provide better Math concepts understanding through multistep problems.
  5. It would be more beneficial if Math was learned through real-world situations. It will then be more relevant and helpful for solving daily-life problems.

A new way of teaching math.

The major problem mentioned above is actually that the things are often made more complicated than they really are and it’s often done on purpose. Teachers and tutors often forget they were once students as well and they had their own mistakes as learners.

You may believe it or not, but the traditional subject can be taught in an innovative way and it’s quite beneficial. The main thing, which makes math complicated, is that it builds on top of itself. A student should understand algebra and geometry first to be able to comprehend trigonometry and calculus. Every next phase matters when you teach math as it is simply a series of logical steps following one after another. So the correct approach to teaching math should be not the dull memorizing of abstract rules, but trying to solve real-life situations. So, a good math teacher should:

  • Ask students “why”. He should do it at least once a day, making them think of the causes and effects of the problem, but not approach Math as simply an abstract subject with the right answers.
  • Analyze the results got by students, focus on what was right and what was wrong, discuss it in the classroom.
  • Provide his pupils with the opportunity to solve tasks mentally and ask them for explanations. In such a way he’ll provide them with the feeling of being mathematicians and develop their creativity and sense-making.

These approaches will encourage students to deepen and apply their knowledge, performing their tasks without a help of paper writing services.

  1. Change expectations. Focus on unconventional thinking, set difficult problems and demonstrate Math’s real application, ask students to solve problems and explain how they did it.
  2. Make Math relevant. It can actually be applied anywhere, you may start analyzing shapes in kindergarten, make projects with second graders creating budgets for different events, and put the problems which spur curiosity in middle school. With elder students you may solve tasks relevant to their future jobs, architecture or whatever, just be creative yourself. Besides, show the learners various ways of getting the right answer.
  3. Make the best of blended learning. Combine classroom instructions and independent work of each student, differentiate tasks, use group work approach as well squeezing the best of everybody’s strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that online programs also work perfect, if you manage to find an ideal combination of puzzles and problems for your students’ better progress.

Finally, it’s extremely important to celebrate the success of your students. Even though each learner has his own progress and pace, it increases motivation and further achievements. You can not only make it a tradition in your class but suggest assemblies outside the classroom to recognize the pupils’ victories.

Remember that success is guaranteed to the teacher who loves his subject, his work and his students.  If you approach your job with love and creativity it will be extremely rewarding.

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