The M-word: Approaching Maths Learning at Home
Aah, to be someone who understands Maths. How wonderful it must be when the numbers don’t become a jumble in your head, to be able to see all the shapes and how they fit together. What a fantastic world this must be? Unfortunately, not everyone has the gift of numbers. This, however, should be no reason to run away from numbers. Through hard work and determination, you too will be able to reap the rewards of being good at Maths.
To be honest, a lot of my time spent teaching Maths in the classroom has been to getting learners to believe that they are capable of doing Maths. I have seen time and time again how a learner with a low Maths grade can shoot up by about 20% just because they adjusted their attitude. In fact, I am a living, breathing example of being afraid of Maths. It was only when I decided to become a teacher that I had to face my fears and attempt high school Maths. Thankfully, my life experience gave me the perspective I needed to overcome my struggle with Maths, and I now love helping my learners understand what they need to.
Sometimes parents don't understand why their children are struggling with Maths; this can cause unnecessary tension between them. Many times the learners are more than capable of doing the Maths, but the constant frustration has caused a mental block. The moment they are able to sit down and go through the work calmly the penny often drops.
Secondly, it is vital that the learner is given time to struggle. It is only when we struggle and succeed that we truly understand where we went wrong. If we keep giving the learners the answers and easy ways out, how do we expect them to be able to do anything by themselves? Instead of giving them the answers, ask some guiding questions, so that the learner can form a mental pathway, and be able to retain and apply the information at a later stage.
Always remember that even a little bit of improvement is progress. This means that even if the learner improves by 1 or 2 percent, it should be acknowledged positively. If it is not acknowledged, it could cause the learner to lose momentum and will slow down the learning process, especially if that improvement was due to a lot of hard work. It's better to give positive acknowledgement with some words of encouragement than to dismiss the improvement as "too little".
Maths can be daunting, but with the right support, patience and practice it can turn into an exciting challenge. If you're a teacher, keep your lessons fun and interactive. If you're a parent, remember that there is a light of the end of the tunnel if you get then some help soon enough. The internet is full of amazing Maths resources that will get those grades up in a jiffy! If you're a learner, just know that you CAN, and that help is just a click away.
Be sure to check my Pinterest for great ideas for teaching and learning!