Success with maths

Success with maths

It is a common refrain among students to say, “ I hate maths. I do not like doing maths.” Many times students who perform well in earlier classes in all subjects including maths are found that they performance in maths is waning.

However with patience, perseverance and consistent practice and involvement of both the parents and the students, maths can be made less intimidating and also interesting.

Positivise maths workout: Make sure you are not communicating negative feelings about math. Don’t make excuses for your child. Several parents say, in front of their children, “I was never any good at math.” That gives the children permission to give up, to believe that math is beyond some people’s reach.  “If parents communicate that they don't like or are not good at math, children might pick up on this anxiety. Your own attitude about math can affect your child’s attitude. Talk about math in a positive way, especially your own use of math. If you learned math differently than your child, learn along with your child and let her teach you! Inspire your child with your positive attitude.

Perseverance is the key: Many students believe that math is an inherited ability ­– either they have the math gene, or they don’t. But recent research shows that inborn talent might not be as important as we think. The most successful students are often those who work the hardest, not those with the highest IQ’s. These students believe that that perseverance is the key to achievement. And parents go a long way in nurturing those positive beliefs in children.

Practice makes perfect: Set a daily routine of practicing maths lessons. Ensure that your ward works out on the problems in a regular and consistent manner. This regular practice will not only take away the fear of the unknown but also improve the confidence in the child.

Build the math muscle: Many view math as an inborn skill, not one that can get better with practice. Teach your child that she can improve her math ability by working at it, just like building a muscle.

The idea is to communicate that a poor performance is not the result of not being a math person, but that, with more practice and effort, a child can get better at those problems that are difficult for him to tackle.

Create role models: Talking about role models in the family or in history with your child can go a long way toward making him or her feel more comfortable with the subject.

Failure is a stepping stone to success:  Do use failure as a chance to learn. If your child does poorly on a test, talk about a time when you struggled. Recount what steps you took to do better. Help him make a study plan for the next test. visit the teacher to review mistakes, and tell him to raise his hand when he doesn’t understand the answer to a homework problem.

Don’t tear your hair: Don’t go crazy if he fails a test: you’ll miss your chance to teach him a lesson or two. Remind him that challenges are our best chances to learn and grow. See if he can take up the test again for extra points. Otherwise, talk to him to let go of the past and focus on the next opportunity.

Give the mind a break: Simple procedures like having students write down intermediate steps of a problem can be a good way to help ensure they don’t make silly mistakes. This way, they don’t have to hold all the steps in their mind as they work through the problem- a good thing because anxiety may prevent them from remembering as well as they could.

Help release emotions: Older children may benefit from releasing their emotions in writing, especially before a big test. Research reveal that writing down anxious emotions before an exam can make those negative feelings less likely to interfere during the testing period.

Make maths fun: Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger math skills. Even everyday activities such as playing with toys in a sandbox or in a tub at bath time can teach children math concepts like weight, density, number and volume.

Use real world examples: Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their earnings, make change, and tip at restaurants. Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts like planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring how long it will take to drive to your family vacation destination.

Prepare them for a profession: Explain to him/her  the importance of learning maths. Let your child know that having strong math skills will open up many great career opportunities.

Finally, Celebrate Success: Finding ways to celebrate students’ success is the best way to demonstrate the importance of learning math facts.

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