Mathematics in Perspective

Why most students hate mathematics and ways to address this!

Knowledge in mathematics has become an indispensable part of our life. For instance, we use mathematics to calculate and manage our expenses. In the business sector, mathematics is vital in drawing business plans, making projections, inventory, budgeting, etc. Applied mathematics is used in orthopaedic surgery, and in manufacturing to design and assemble machines, for example. Insurance companies also apply mathematics in risk calculation and so on.

Regrettably, we live in an age where saying that “I hate Mathematics!” comes as no surprise to people because there is that feeling, or general perception, that most people hate the subject. The hatred for mathematics by most students is thus no exception.

Generally, most students hate mathematics because they find the subject abstract and can hardly relate the topics to real life situations. Thus, they find the subject difficult and uninteresting.

Moreover, they also find the teaching and learning of maths tedious, less fun and nerve-racking. This stems from the fact that a lot of concentration is needed in learning and applying the concepts and formulae taught in mathematics. Not to talk of the long hours needed to sit behind the desk, rack your brain in order to recall the concepts and formulae in order to answer questions correctly.

Similarly, tutors present mathematics as a daunting task to handle. Students are not made to fully understand a topic before the next topic is taught in the classroom. For fear of being left behind, students are forced to skip the previous and go on to the next. This, therefore, hinders the effective studying of the subject.

In addition, most students perceive mathematics as a subject for only a person who is considered to be “the brains” of his or her class. Most girls, particularly, hate mathematics because they think of it as a preserve for boys.

There are several ways to address the hatred for mathematics by students. Encouragement and motivation are essential in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Experts in the field say that mathematics is rather the easiest subject to learn. It’s all a matter of learning the concepts, formulae, keeping them in mind, and using or applying them correctly to arrive at solutions. So, it’s that simple: Get the formulas right, keep practising and solve more examples on your own, and voila!  

Different approaches should be used in teaching mathematics. For example, maths teachers should use word problems and real life application, i.e. ideas, things and situations from everyday life to teach the concepts in mathematics.

Teachers should be sure that students have fully understood a topic before moving on to the next. Maths teachers should revise the basics in mathematics like BODMAS, fractions, indices, roots, algebra, etc. with students, or should advise their students to revise the basics since those are often used in further studies.

To conclude, maths teachers should provide the necessary tools and technologies like simulation software to make mathematics interactive and engaging. The hatred for mathematics by most students would go away if the teaching of the subject becomes a lot more fun and interactive.

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