Math is not easy

By | February 5, 2010

I think it’s a waste of time trying to make mathematics easy and fun to learn if your idea of fun does not involve challenge.

Mathematics is not an easy subject and it is not easy to learn it. That is a fact. The sooner the teacher accepts this, the better for her students. The challenge to us teachers is not in how we can make math easy to learn but in how we can make it makes sense and how we can make our students love the challenge that mathematics presents. Can math be challenging if students feel that what they are expected to do in the class is to follow the teacher’s method, the teacher’s way of thinking, and the teacher’s way of doing things? Where is the fun in that?

Mathematics is not fun to learn if the idea of fun is like playing bingo! However, if ‘fun’ is a function of the challenge a sport or a game presents, then indeed learning mathematics is fun. We love a sport because of the challenge it presents, the opportunities it gives us to make prediction, analyze, strategize, make our stand and defend it, etc and not because it is easy to play!

Everything in mathematics makes sense. Everything in mathematics is connected to everything else. I think this is where we teachers should be devoting our time to.

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17 thoughts on “Math is not easy

  1. Sílvia

    Hello from Portugal.
    Concerning Maths I think it may be a difficult subject but I strongly believe that we can bring real live problems and topics into the Maths lessons, so that our students understand that we cannot live without Mathematics and logics.

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  3. Minenhle

    I agree with the content of your article. The title however, sends a wrong message.

  4. Arham

    When we see beauty as a whole we adore and praise, but when we dissect and analyze bit by bit than we try to run away….. well i think Human by nature is little impatient and wants results quickly that’s why if some one wants to be acquainted with any kind of knowledge specially math (as abstract by nature) she / he tries to avoid the hardship of learning process and wishes for a miracle to get all things in his brain directly without any struggle. i think teacher should give some new methodology to this first phase of learning so that student can master his skill to carry on his journey to the far away frontiers of knowledge.
    For a space shuttle its difficult to break the gravity, once its in space than a little push can drive the heavy shuttle in any direction.
    in my opinion as math is abstract and its visualization is very difficult to comprehend, therefore to make it as a whole we need to try to teach it by not making it further breakdown and more abstract, whereas like in any national language we just visualize action with every word for instance learning english is easy if we speak for our need and daily usage, but if we dissect and try to master its grammar it becomes difficult but still we get advantage due to the oral skill that we got in first phase. i mean to master math at first stage we need to speak math rather than studying and learning, like little kid got understanding of word water by observing her/his parents or people around saying word water for a transparent liquid which can be used when someone gets thirsty so she/he says water means he is thirsty and needs water, so we should try to speak more elaborately when talking to each other in front of kid .. like ” honey please hand over ONE (1) GLASS of WATER” same should be adopted in classrooms ” FIRST SPEAK THAN TRY TO MASTER”

  5. The Man

    Math! I have studied math from time to time in my many years of living. I have found very little use for it in the field. When you apply for a job they don’t ask you how good you are at math. Unless your into high tech work. Most people aren’t. Math is good in school and in labs. But in real life most people never use it.

  6. Mindy

    Thank you for your site! I’ve found it immensely useful as I try to implement the wonderful ideas I’ve been constructing in my graduate program about the way people learn and the implications that has for how we teach. I think that there is definitely a gap between the theory and what it should look like in the classroom, and your site has provided the scaffolding I needed to extend the philosophy to designing lessons.

  7. Amal

    I agree with, you actually I am happy to find person who share me the same opinion that the challenge to math teachers is “not on how we can make math easy to learn but on how we can make our students love the challenge that mathematics presents”.that purpose which really change their personalities and the way they deal in their own life and I believe that my big success when I help one student not to improve his level in math but to like the math as a subject because that means that he adopt the mathematical thinking in his life .

    1. erlines

      thanks, amal. indeed we teach students mathematics not only because we want them to learn maths but more so because we want them to learn to think mathematically.

  8. Amal

    I am a math teacher and I agree completely with you. I think we should think about math as a motivated tool to raise the challenge soul of our students.the like the Games and the challenge of the game is the attractive part for them so I always tell my students when I explain a new concept for them think about it as a new rule for a new game and add your thoughts to manipulate that rules to find the solution

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