You may be one of those parents who believe in giving their child a head start when it comes to teaching their children basic math or a foreign language at home while they are still very young.
Of course, we don’t doubt you have your child’s best interests at heart. But, if you don’t adopt the right methodology in teaching and do it just for the sake of getting ahead of the competition, there is bad news for you.
“A positive mindset makes a world of difference to both teacher and learner. Inculcating this positive approach is one of the key markers of a good teacher.”
Teaching pupils the everyday applications of a subject like math will help in overcoming anxieties if any. For example, playing online math games and puzzles can help learners visualize math problems in context without the pressure of an exercise format.
There are challenges to be overcome when it comes to teaching and learning math. In this article, we explore some of them while attempting to highlight the possible solutions for them.
The Challenges of Math Education
Experts will tell you the advantages of starting young when you are learning something new. This is true for math as well. Young minds are more open to new ideas than those of people more grown-up.
Leading psychologists have shown how parents are capable of passing on their inherent fears to their children. For example, if a parent had faced challenges at math in his or her own school years, it is quite possible that they are imposing that fear onto their child. This will only result in slowing down the child’s progress.
Young children are quite capable of learning some easy maths concepts, such as geometry and symmetry. We don’t need to tell them otherwise!
Why not sit down with your child and using some interactive math games, have a learning session which benefits both? Every child has a natural desire to learn more about the world around them. Perhaps, this will rub off on you as well!
A Tutor, a Friend
Taking guidance from a private math tutor can also prove to be extremely beneficial. This will ensure that students are not falling behind their peers. Private tuitions are personalized and tailor-made to suit a pupil’s unique strengths and weaknesses.
“Be it fractions, decimals, long division, addition and subtraction, place value or any other area, you will always find a private tutor ready to offer their expertise.”
Never Underestimate the Power of Games!
Our parents are our first teachers. However, parents often lack confidence when it comes to guiding their children on the right academic path. They are happy to entrust school teachers with this task.
There are so many steps you can take, as a parent, to help children get better at math through learning at home.
Math Games at Home
It always helps to talk about your problems. If you consider math to be a problematic area, why not try to solve it by talking about it?
Discussing math at home gives your child a context to learn the subject outside of his or her school. This has the added advantage of boosting their confidence and pushing them to ask questions which they are otherwise reluctant to do in the formal setting of a school.
There are plenty of free online math games and board games that can support your child's learning. Explore and invest some time and effort to get to know them so that your child is not solely dependent on school textbooks.
Show them that math learning can also be fun. Use household activities to teach children of the everyday applications of math in their lives.
Learning is most successful when you're having fun. That's why learning through play is ideal for young children and students of any age who enjoy practising math. There are many math websites offering fun math games for kids to see how their math skills fare.
Learning Difficulties in Children
There are certain learning difficulties that children face, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia that affect reading, writing and comprehension. When it comes to math, this could mean difficulties solving maths word problems and what they are being asked to do.
Awareness about these issues is limited in India. What should you do if your child has a specific learning difficulty (SpLD)? Here is what we think.
A multi-sensory approach to math learning can prove powerful as students receive information through several channels: sight, hearing, touch and movement. People who live with SpLDs are usually first and foremost, visual learners, meaning that using pictures and models prove most effective in helping them understand and use maths.
When teaching children with SpLDs, it is incredibly important to be patient with them. Repeat points as many times as necessary for children to fully understand, changing the approach each time to keep the student engaged.
Since SpLDs make organization difficult, it can be invaluable for teachers and parents to put mechanisms in place to give structure to learning such as:
- A colour-coded system to differentiate between math concepts
- Sticking to a routine
- Using a learning diary alongside exercise books (to keep all work in one place)
The Myth of Male Superiority in Math
Have you ever been told that girls are just not good enough for math, that it is strictly a male preserve? Let us help you bust that myth for good!
The myth must have some roots in reality, one would think. So where does the myth that men are better at math come from?
Perhaps, historically, males have been more encouraged and even more inclined to take up mathematics as a vocation than women. Perhaps girls tend to prefer subjects such as literature, nursing, and psychology, whereas there are more boys in math, science and economics classes.
The explanation could equally be down to the pupil's upbringing and social practices, especially when it comes to the Indian scenario. Very early on, boys may be encouraged to play construction games as girls are given dolls to play with.
In this case, then, statistics can be misleading. There is a deeper story waiting to be unearthed by Superprof!