Mathematics for Teaching What is mathematics Can having fun and learning math coexist?

Can having fun and learning math coexist?

I wrote a little post titled Mathematics is not easy  to challenge the teachers I work with to rethink the way they teach mathematics. I  shared the post in LinkedIn and it generated intelligent discussions and ideas about mathematics and teaching mathematics from the community Math, Math Education, Math Culture. I think we can learn a lot from the well-thought of comments and reactions from the community. There are so far 224 comments. Let me share the comments and reactions related to the existence of ‘fun’ in mathematics. Before you read the comments and reactions, I suggest you first read the post Math is not easy.

  1. Certainly not a waste of time. Making it fun and easy has great benefits, such as increased love for math overall, stronger levels of confidence, and an encouragement toward number sense – Steve Kleinrichert
  2. So are you suggesting that we just tell our students on day one that “this is not going to be a fun class. This material is going to be difficult and you probably won’t understand it!”…..
    And what is your “fact” based on? “Math is not an easy subject”… With proper techniques & approaches, math can be as easy as any other subject. And “… not easy to learn it” depends on the student, teacher & learning goals.
    Also, if you are suggesting that teachers accept the “fact”, how will that make it better for anyone, students or teachers? – Scott Taylor.
  3. There’s a big difference between making math fun by putting in external wastes of time that obscure the math, and making it fun *because* of the mathematics and the interesting problems within. I agree that we shouldn’t do the former, which I think is what Erlina is saying. But we should try to choose problems that are fun and engaging through their mathematical content. – Daniel Zaharopol.
  4. So much mathematics can be learnt through a playful interaction with the problem. In fact, we often colour our students perception of what we expect by using words like problem when puzzle or dilemma would be just as suitable. A sense of fun is, in my experience, essential as it prevents students from giving up and writing off the ability that they have already. – Mike Chittenden
  5. Making mathematics easy is the goal of every diligent math teacher. Like perfection, the ideal may be unattainable but the pursuit is worthy. – Charles Ashbacher
  6. I also disagree with you. If teachers stopped trying to make math fun I think math would get even more boring. There is so much beauty and mystery. I asked my students what they thought math was and they gave some very interesting answers. Since I am teaching in China none of my students said stupid or not fun. There is fun to be had and interesting things to talk about. – Dominique Lomax
  7. My mathematics teachers did not try to make mathematics fun, yet I found that mathematics is interesting in itself. – Ng Foo Keong (Sophus)
  8. Math and any other subject can be difficult / boring / not fun depending on our (teachers) goals. I have never pretended that I educate new generation of mathematicians. My goal is to develop the way of mathematical thinking through delivering strong basis of mathematical concepts. Can it be fun? Maybe. Is it difficult? For whom: teachers or students? It depends on…. Lots of parameters. – Bess Ostrovsky

More related insights in The fun in learning mathematics is in the challenge.


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