Cont.d from last week.
Over the years, I have had cause to reflect upon the destructive way we teach math and the harm it unleashes on our students.
I have met so many adults of various ages who lament- “If only I’d had a teacher as enthuiastic, passionate and above all as empathetic as you; my life would be so different! Perhaps I would have become a doctor which was my dream but cut short by my fears of math.” Substitute the career choice of doctor and it would be other STEM fields they felt shut out of due to math.
There exists a high level of intensity of negative emotion around mathematics for most people. Mathematics, more than any other subject, has the ability to crush students’ spirits, and many adults do not move on from these negative experiences in school. Once the notion they cannot do math, they often maintain a negative relationship with mathematics for the rest of their lives.
I have discovered from experience that one superseding idea is where this math failure culminates from-: that only some people can be good at math.
That single notion—that math is a “gift” some people have and others don’t—is the root cause for the anxiety.
- Contrary to people’s beliefs- math isn’t about right and wrong answers.
Mathematics is a very broad and multidimensional subject that requires reasoning, creativity, connection making, and interpretation of patterns; it is a set of ideas that help illuminate the world; and it evolves. Math problems ought to depict the different ways in which people view math and the various methods they take to solve problems. With this evolution, watch students engage with math deeper.
It happened that way for me, I was confused about the Cartesian plane and graphing coordinates on it. I frequently confused x for y and vice versa. It was my mother who patiently deconstructed the difference between the x and y axis. Why one was called the independent variable and the other one; the dependent variable. What a world of difference this made! I was back on the path of loving math and achieving my dreams of being an engineer.
The final round….
Part 3 is coming up next week