Chapters

“Math is not a subject for me. I can’t get the hang of it.”- Does this ring a bell? If you did not hear anyone else say this, you must have said these words sometime during your academic years.

- Hit and miss method helps the brain to develop
- Using the Boaler Method
- State of mind is an essential requirement in order to learn maths
- Learning maths without being pressurised

Out of all the subjects that are taught at school, the practical application and theory behind math is what makes it different from the rest of the subjects.

Maths governs science as it deals in every aspect of science, starting from fractions and probability to algebra and geometry. Overcoming your fear of maths is essential for personal and professional growth.

### Depending on your ability to do maths, you can categorize it under two types.

- You are gifted with the ability to comprehend all the theories and concepts required to be good at mathematics. You are a class topper. Following the syllabus of the school and keeping up with your peers does not make sense to you as you are always leaps and bounds ahead of them.
- You don’t get maths. You feel that maths isn’t your cup of tea. You might have faced problems while learning the basics of maths like the multiplication table, simple formulas, etc. Now it prevents you from progressing further as you have a weak base.

This might make you think that maths is such a subject which you are either capable of doing, or not capable at all. Avoid making it a psychological block, it's okay to learn slow.

### But why should this prevent you from trying to be good at maths?

There is no reason at all that it should prevent you from trying to be good at maths.

If you are feeling overwhelmed regarding the thought of trying to be good at maths, it is because of your low confidence and lack of knowledge regarding the right technique required to be good at maths. This lack of confidence causes a maths phobia, which is difficult to remove unless you change your approach.

Being optimistic and taking the right approach is the best way to get back on track and get better at maths.

## Hit and miss method helps the brain to develop.

Professor J Boaler, a maths teacher at Stanford, has spent a lot of time in finding out why children face problems while learning maths.

When the son of her colleague was asked the question of why he hates maths, his answer was that maths always wants him to find the right answer, but does not teach him anything.

This story is similar to a lot of children. Thousands of other students feel the same way. Although maths always has a clear cut answer, the lack of a clear objective is the main reason a lot of students fail at learning maths.

To make sure that every student is taught math in the best possible way, we have to change our whole perspective when it comes to teaching maths.

The myth that some people are good at maths while others aren’t is indeed a myth and not a fact.

The brain of a person who is good at maths is no way different from the mind of a person who is not good at maths. It all depends on the correct method of teaching.

By working on your multiplication tables, the decimal system, or trigonometry with individualized methods, your fear of maths will no longer be there.

It has been proven scientifically that a student’s academic success is directly related to his opinion about himself.

According to science, the human brain grows and shrinks depending on how it is used.

This was seen when the taxi drivers of London were asked to memorize every street in London to get a driving license. The capacity of their brains increased manifold. However, the minds of taxi drivers who were retired began to shrink because there was no need to remember this information.

In mathematics, the ‘hit or miss’ method helps develop the brain by increasing the level of concentration when we are stuck in some problem or trying to find out where we went wrong. This activity increases the number of neurons in our brain, which helps us in finding out the answers to similar questions faster.

Even though making mathematical errors while solving problems won’t make you good at maths overnight, having a different approach helps us work on removing our mental blockage more efficiently.

The method of trial and error can be applied to a lot of concepts of maths, even the likes of quadratic equations, geometry, graphical representation of data, and many more.

When our ultimate motive is to be perfect by being efficient, the method of trial and error is of great help. Errors don’t mean a bad thing all the time.

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## Using the Boaler Method

Various studies have shown that the brains of children who are good at maths differ from the minds of those who face problems quite often while doing maths.

This was taken into account by professor J Boaler. He found that different areas of the brain get activated when children are asked to solve a set of questions.

His methods include a visual representation of maths and monitoring the student’s progress by talking to them about their strengths and weaknesses. This shows that the chances of a student learning maths are higher when the teaching process is adapted according to the requirement of the student.

According to him, the real problem in learning maths is faced by only 2% - 3% of all the people trying to learn the subject. The remaining lot is capable of learning the subject even at a higher level.

People who have been taught mathematics by following the age-old methods are often surprised when the technique of visualization of problems is implemented. One of the reasons behind this theory is that their brain is not used to this new way of learning. The portion of the mind which is responsible for dealing with numbers is different from the part of the brain that deals with visualization.

The method of visualization is useful because it allows both halves of the brain to work simultaneously- the right brain, which is the logical side and the left brain, which is responsible for creativity.

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## State of mind is an essential requirement to learn maths.

Teachers have started noticing that the confidence of a student directly reflects on his ability to be good at maths.

Being optimistic when trying to deal with a specific problem yields better overall results.

As this is becoming more famous by the day, teachers are finding ways to implement this in the classrooms.

According to professor Boaler, children are more capable of learning maths than any other subject.

A lot of teachers at the school level doubt the ability of students to be good at maths. This causes the students to think of themselves as failures and brings their morale down.

The main difficulty is caused by questions that have either yes or no as the answer. These questions do not allow constructive learning. The solution to this problem is using visual methods. This allows the use of different approaches to solve a problem.

Therefore, instead of solving a lot of problems on topics such as logarithm, algebra, trigonometry, students should focus more on using maths games and tricks to find out the solutions to these problems.

Letting students use games and tricks to solve the problems helps students appreciate the use of maths in the real world. Learn maths through play, online websites and games help a lot to move forward.

## Learning maths without being pressurized

Even though a little pressure helps us to stay motivated, constant pressure causes more harm than good. It prevents the brain from being used at 100% efficiency.

In our current education system, school students face a lot of pressure when it comes to studies. Be it pressure from parents, or peer pressure, the pressure causes a lot of stress in students which in turn makes the overall situation even more challenging to deal with.

For children who have anxiety issues, pressure creates a lot of stress. Stress can easily cause a student to get off track.

Teachers expecting students to solve maths problems quickly in front of the whole class is even more demanding for the students.

In reality, even Ph.D. holders in maths are not that much faster than the general public. It is the technique they use that makes the difference.

## Can a Maths teacher learn maths without getting stressed?

At times, learning a particular concept becomes difficult for the teacher too. Most of the time, this is the result of outdated methods that were used while teaching them.

The teachers who are the most affected ones are the ones who teach at primary school.

Working towards visualization and getting to know different processes to do maths is one of the best solutions to this problem.

Not only this, the teachers can apply the newly learned methods when teaching their students too. Instead of a general teaching style for everyone, knowing the strength and weakness of the students help the teachers teach comprehensively.

**Conclusion**

A lot of people believe that maths is not their cup of tea. However, this is not true at all. Anyone can be good at maths. The key to being good is by being patient and not getting pressured while learning maths. Making mistakes while learning maths is completely normal. Making mistakes help the brain grow, which in turn makes us more able to do maths. Not only for school level maths, but this fact is also true for high level maths too. If you follow the Boaler method to learn maths , visualisation plays a very important role in helping you learn maths.

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