“I’m just not a math person”. “Math isn’t for me”. “I should just give up.”
Did you have the similar feeling?
I have met more students/people who have shown hatred feeling than people who have shown indifferent feeling. There may be some reason behind it. I was wondering about what might be the cause behind it. The subject is like a red flag in front of them.
I realized social influences from outside might be the ONE cause. People feel pride in saying that “I am not a maths person”, “I am not made for maths”. The more the message is spread, the more is a common feeling.
For many,’maths- alieness’ begins from our environment. I had once asked my students ‘what fears you?’ I remember him sharing about his grandfather who was wizard at maths, would always want him to be correct. Any mistake would lead to threaten and thunder him which created a sense of failure in him. Another incident, I remember a student sharing about how her friends amused at her after getting a wrong answer. This feeling created a sense of incapability in her.
I must tell you ‘Human Mind is a Funny Thing’– Shakuntala Devi. Any positive impressions gives encouragement whereas any negative impressions lead to insecurity, failure,etc. Moreover, negative impressions made in childhood get imprinted on our minds.
“Dr. Bruce S. McEwen looks at that science in depth, discussing how early-life stress can lead to long-lasting behavioral, mental, and physical consequences. Fortunately, preventive measures can improve health outcomes, and while interventions for those who have already experienced debilitating early-life stress require considerable effort, they remain possible, thanks to the brain’s plasticity.” – Bruce S. McEwen
If you have had been through similar experiences, examine them and take it out from you. You will find somewhere that maths- alienness may have arisen not from natural instinct but through the social influences.
Evidence from recent years has shown that ‘Nobody is born without maths brain and nobody is born without one. And everybody-brain has the potential to grow and change all the time. When we learn something synapse fires in the brain. It’ like an electric current that moves between parts of the brain. And when we return to the idea and think deeply that synapse forms a pathway in the brain that we keep using from that point on. Synapses are firing all the time but they don’t fire as much if you don’t believe in yourself.”- Jo Boaler, Professor of Education at Stanford University.
Stunning examples have been into evidence in recent years that how the brains of people who had a hemisphere removed in childhood continue to function. A child was born with a special neurological condition of his brain which had to pass through surgery and at the age of 3 years, half of the brain had been removed. (Read the article: How the Brain Can Rewire Itself After Half of It Is Removed)
What I want you is to overcome the feeling of maths-alienness if you have it. You may realize it consciously or not, that you are using Maths in your daily life, in your breathing and living. Most importantly, you are also a part of society, see and check yourself how are you influencing others!
“Nothing has changed but my attitude. Everything has changed.” -Anthony Demello
I being in the field of Commerce, I related it with Marketing. In Marketing, we talk about various types of advertisements. Also, as an Assistant Professor, I had to be a part of a number of event organizers. We had once organized an event named as “PITCH YOUR PRODUCT”. In that event, the seller had to sell that product which the market will not demand any time. The only secret was to point out the USP (Unique Selling Points). I believe is a similar problem here people don’t have the realisation of the USP of Maths and thus they take pride in showing the hatred. It was then a realization why maths is so unpopular.
Maths might not have been marketed with its USP. It has excellent features built into it but you, me along with millions of people all over the world are unaware of it. Since, it is taught using numbers, formulaes, theorems and symbols, it is not so much a foreign language, as an alien one. This language is alien to us because we don’t use it in our everyday life. We don’t need in our daily communication, except perhaps in a specific context.
I believe we need to “Think Maths, Feel Maths rather than Do Maths”
Children like playing games and puzzles. When it comes to games and puzzles, Maths is completely involved in it. Without the help of mathematics, games simply won’t work. Any activity and game require active participation of the child which children love to play with. It helps in developing important brain connections which act as food for the brain for early childhood.
Please type “FEEL Maths” in Comments if you agree with me!
P.S-If you are an educator or parent to a child of 0 to 5 years and want to know more about ‘Think Maths and Feel Maths’, I can help you. Read my upcoming book on ‘EARLY MATHS MATTER’. If you want to remain updated for the release and avail RELEASE DAY INCENTIVE then do fill the form.
McEwen B. S. (2011). Effects of stress on the developing brain. Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, 2011, 14.
Shakuntala Devi (2002). “Mathability:Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child” Orient Paperbacks