Have you ever thought that math is just too difficult for you? That you don’t have math talent? Have you wondered exactly who those mysterious ‘numbers people’ are? Do you find yourself saying, “I cannot do math”?
Why do you think of yourself in that way? Don’t you think it is a bit harsh? Much too often our inner voice says limiting and unhelpful things when we face obstacles or experience difficulties. This is a natural human response because challenges can make us feel uncomfortable and can indeed be stressful. But there are good reasons to find better and more positive ways of thinking about and talking to yourself …
Imagine that what you have thought or heard is not true. Imagine that math learning is not dependent on such a thing as being a ‘numbers person’ and that math talent is an old myth that has finally been demystified by science. Can you imagine? Well, it is worthwhile imagining that because it is true. Today we know that math learning usually depends on engaged studying along with empowering teaching methods and support.
Naturally, each student has personal preferences and not everyone would choose math puzzles to do in his/her spare time or professional career. However, many more students than we realize can be successful math learners.
Math has a certain image. Sadly, for many it isn’t a good image and above all, it is not accurate. Old myths about being a ‘numbers person’ and about having math talent are hindering math learning without us being aware of it. They lead to feelings of inadequacy, avoidance, disinterest, and anxiety which is unfortunate. In actual fact, learners would often benefit from gaining greater confidence and from receiving more encouragement, enough time, and better supports. These are things that nourish curiosity, perseverance, and progress in math.
By now you have already learned quite a bit. Continue reading and you’ll discover even more about math and learning. As you do this, observe your daily thoughts about math learning with an open heart and mind.
Have fun and enjoy Aha Moments!
Tina’s Aha Moments! A Story with lots of Truth in it
Tina is sitting at her cozy desk with her shoulders hanging and her arms resting next to her books. She looks tired, sad, and quite stressed.
“Math is stupid. I just can’t do it!”
Tina’s math homework continues to be challenging, even though she has been working hard on it for a while. Her mother positively supports - encouraging her to keep trying, to read the question again, to experiment, and to stay focused. But Tina is fed up and feels it is hopeless. “This makes no sense. I am just not a math person. The other kids in class always catch on faster than I do.”
Mom takes Tina in her arms and exclaims, “Nonsense!!!”
Tina remembers what her mother usually tells her: “Yes, sure. Sometimes things are challenging, even super hard and frustrating, and sometimes they don’t work out at all.
But you just have to keep trying, go for gold and stick with it!” Fortunately, Mom is not repeating this now and instead delights Tina by saying, “Come on now, it’s time for a break. Let’s have lunch.”
During lunchtime, Tina and her mother often enjoy looking at family photos on the wall, laughing at the cute memories they bring to mind. Today Tina notices the photos of her when she took her first steps as a toddler. “That one is so cute. I was learning to walk! I don’t remember back that far, but it must have been incredibly challenging to get up on two feet and take ...