*".*

**I'm not a math person**I dislike this saying, because I think we all have some "math" inside of us. Maybe I'm an optimist and hopeful for all of my students, but I believe that everyone can do it, they just need to have the attitude and the opportunities to experiment and figure it out with support from someone who knows the answer to guide them along the way.

Another thing wrong with this saying, is the assumptions that go along with it. To most students who say this, they are thinking about the numbers, equations, and representations that they just don't understand. But math isn't just about numeric skills. There's other aspects that contribute to a student's mathematical mind, numbers are only a tiny part of math. For example, seeing patterns, strategy games, and word problems all contribute to a mathematical mind!

This saying also assumes that math is either a skill that comes easily, one that comes with hard work, or one that doesn't come at all! Most students tend to rule out the middle option though ("one that comes with hard work"). They'd rather believe that they don't have the skill than have to work hard for it. Of course, this is a generalization and does not account for all students who struggle with math. Part of this belief is brought about by socialization through a student's family, but also through education and how in elementary years it is mainly about numbers and developing those basic skills in order to get to the abstract concepts in the later elementary years, high school and university.

As teacher's we have to realize that some student's are going to have this opinion about their math skills and abilities. We have to be ready to observe and know how to pin point students that believe this about themselves and help them to overcome this opinion. Math is more than numbers, and everyone has the possibility to be a "math person" and we as math teacher's have the opportunity, maybe even the privilege, to show students the path towards success!

Happy math teaching!

I had the privilege to attend a math PLC where one of the guest speakers was from the Ministry of Education. He too discussed how students ability to understand math is all based on how we teach them. He then proceeded to give us an example where we were on a new off world planet and that math as we know it has changed. He then proceeded to tell us that tens were now actually composed of 5 units He showed us with building blocks. So twenty building blocks were called 40 on this planet. (4 groups of ten) Anyways, the point I am getting at is that we need to always remember that we are starting with these kids from the bottom up and that "not being" a math person is not an excuse. We all have difficulties. (At first I was confused by this Ministry guy's approach) However, with patience we can supersede difficulties, take risks and become more confident and proficient.

ReplyDeleteOpinion is another type of blog post and one of the great things about blogs. They are yours to say what ever you wish.

ReplyDelete"Not a math person"... this is something I use to say and truly believe. I think the opinions and feelings teachers have towards math can have a huge impact on the students they teach. Some teachers teaching all subjects at the elementary level may not consider themselves to be a "math person" and this can have negative consequences for the attitudes students have toward the subject.

ReplyDeleteIn elementary school I remember some of the teachers I had and although they never said anything about not liking math, it was obvious that when we were doing math it wasn't something they were passionate about. As educators we need to do everything we can to learn and grow in order to become equally as passionate about every subject we teach!

I think that statement is one of the most common phrases that I hear from my students which is second only to the comments "I am not good at math" or "I can't do math". My normal response to ALL of these questions is the same... "Well you have never had me as a math teaher before". They usually laugh it off but before they know it I've chipped away at them enough that their confindence builds and they begin to come around to the dark side. I find most of the time that is is their confidence in doing math is what the problem is not the thinking/problem solving skills. It is the fear of trying something and being wrong or having to put a little effort into it. I hate hearing a student respond to getting a question worng by saying "ug.. Im so stupid". I am always quick to tell them that they are not stupid they just made a mistake and we all make mistakes. They just need to have the determination to try it again until they get it. People dont learn to walk in a day, nor do they learn to walk in the same amount of time and math is no different.

ReplyDeleteI think we have all at some point in our lives told ourselves that we don't like something or are not good at something. I think as educators it is so important to demonstrate perseverance, especially to our students. I like to continuously make reference to my own experiences in my own classroom to show my students that regardless of how I feel about a certain subject or thing, I have the confidence to try my best and not give up. I think as an educator we need to show our students that we believe in ourselves, and that we believe in our students. Just as Damian Cooper said, we need to strive for excellence in all taht we do and believe in the potential for all students to learn. If we can do this, then our students will believe in tehmselves.

ReplyDelete