When it comes to the hardest subject in school, math tends to be at the top of the list. The harder a subject is, the more children want to push it away — especially if they don’t have the support. Today, Spark Math by VISPARK gets to the bottom of what puts children off of math and how parents can help to overcome those hardships. Here are 3 reasons children hate math and how to change that.
1) Learning Math Can be Boring and Tedious
So many subjects in school feel fun and interactive. In English lessons, students learn how to read through interesting and engaging stories. They learn the basics of science through experiments and interactive activities. With math, they get bombarded with lots of equations and problem sums. Abstract concepts can feel unfamiliar and tough to grasp. The way that math is taught in schools can feel like nothing more than memorising numbers, rules, and tables. Children that struggle with rote memorisation can fall behind and quickly grow to dislike math.
How Can We Make Math Spark Curiosity?
When students learn a new math concept, there are tons of ways to help make it fun — and at their own pace. At Spark Math, students learn math through interactive games and animated narratives. By getting children engaged with something they enjoy, we can transfer that positivity to the study of math.
Another way is to make math a social and collaborative effort. When children work together, they learn differently from staring at a book or being lectured. It gives them a chance to discuss with their peers and even do some explanation on their own.
2) Math Has a Bad Reputation
Math often gets unfairly labelled as boring or difficult. This expectation can ruin a child’s attitude before they even begin. When a child starts off expecting math to be their least favourite, that prophecy quickly fulfills itself. It is far too easy for math to become the “villain” class.
How Do We Change the Reputation?
How children perceive math starts before they even get to school. Parents must lead by example with a positive outlook on math and dispel any anxiety about the difficulty of it. Parents can point out the math they use every day and how math is a part of everyone’s lives in one form or another. When parents take an interest in something, in this case math, it will rub off on their children. We can set the tone and change the narrative about math.
3) Math Has Clear Wrong Answers
Unlike more abstract parts of academics such as creative writing, math usually has very clear right and wrong answers. With wrong answers comes the feeling of failure. Glaring wrong answers can frustrate children and put them off math entirely. Despite putting in a ton of effort on a problem, one small error can make all the work become a red check mark. Over time, children may start to feel anxious about doing math and getting the right answers.
How Do We Overcome Math Anxiety?
We must normalise failing and focus on how to recover. We don’t want children expecting to fail but we must let them know it WILL happen during math and that is okay. Getting the wrong answers happens to the brightest math experts. They learn from their mistakes and work toward the correct answer. Math can be a great setting to teach resilience and how to adapt to mistakes. By providing support and acknowledging children’s efforts, parents give their children the encouragement they need to overcome math anxiety.
What Can We Do For Children Who Hate Math?
We do not want to force children to like math. Rather, we want to present math in a positive manner and dispel the anxiety that surrounds it. Math does not need to be the boogeyman or a bore fest. With the right method and attitude, children won’t have reasons to hate math. They can view math as a fun and useful tool they can take with them through life.
Spark Math by VISPARK uses fun and interactive ways to teach math to children. With gamified and interactive activities, animation, and live teachers, children find fun ways to learn math. Schedule a FREE trial class today!