Wednesday, 26 November 2014

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE HATE MATH?



I hate being the first to tell you that mathematics has never been liked by many people since the beginning of time. I hope I am not the first to tell you this? Why have many people out of the many subjects thought in schools just decided to give hatred to math? I used to hate math at the basic school. Now math is the subject I like best. I think that is the reason why I am offering BSc. Pure Mathematics at the University. I have always been trying hard to find an answer to this question and have ended up having more than one answer. I am convinced I am not the first person to take up this headache upon myself. 

Math is poorly taught in schools   
Math is poorly taught in schools of all levels. Some teachers read out what they have also read to students. Sometimes without any explanation, probably they do not also understand. If that is the case, then I will say that is hypocrisy on their part to pretend to know what they not know. Gordon Barker on March 7, 2013, said, most math teachers should be put against a wall and shot. He argued that math is taught badly at all levels (including first Year University) with no connection to real world. Not a quote though. This really kills the desire of most students to pursue math in higher levels and also increasing their hatred for it.  

Passing of antipathy on to kids by parents and role models
It is sad to know that the perception of most people that math is difficult is as a result of antipathy passed on to them by parents or row models. A woman told the daughter who failed a math paper in the open air, not to worry at all since math is difficult and that she herself wasn’t good at it when she was in school. This woman indirectly has killed the daughters’ zeal that she might have had to learn math. So it is evidently clear that no matter the effort of the teacher, this girl cannot make it in math. She will always be consoled by the fact that her mother was not also good at it so what’s the big deal. There was a case, back at the primary school, where my math teacher was solving a math problem and made a mistake along the line and when it was pointed out to him, he simply said “adwen no nnye mma maths.” This is Asante Twi, meaning the brain is not good for math. We laughed and were consoled that after all, our math teacher’s brain is not also good for doing math, how much more we children. 

Absence of constant practice
Math and constant practice are synonymous. Due to laziness or other reasons for people to constantly practice math, they end up forgetting the basic things in math that are must-know to the problem to be solved. I think I now know why I did not like math at the basic school. In the Senior High School, I started learning math regularly and I made sure I was always ahead of my math teacher. Within some few months in the Senior High School, my interest in math started increasing and I eventually became one of the best students in math in my class. Now I think working math questions is my hobby. So most people do not practice constantly and so forget the basic concepts in math and end up hating it because they lack the basic concepts to solve any math problem. An example, to compute 64 ÷ 8, one must know the times table for 8. That is, one must know that, 8 × 8 is 64. 

Poor preparation on the part of some teachers before going to teach a lesson
It sometimes baffles my mind why some teachers enter the class to teach without doing any good preparation or having a well prepared lesson notes by them. This constant practice in math applies to everyone, whether a teacher or a student of any level. Some teachers go to the classroom having done barely any preparation. They end up in the class not being able to solve a particular math problem. When the students become fully convinced that their teacher could not solve a math problem, they also relent in their effort to learn math since even their teacher could not also do so.

Lack of good fundamental preparation
Luck of good fundamental preparation is factor to most people hating math. Most people do not like mathematics because they are not good at it. They are not good at it because they might not have the basic preparation. As stated earlier, people begin to hate math if they do not have knowledge on the basic concepts of math. Children are not thought basic concepts in math as the way they are thought poems. If basic math concepts were made known to basic school children as poems in the basic schools, the issue of someone growing to hate math would reduce. For instance, I do not know the number of days in the months of the year off head. I can only tell you the number of days in a particular month of the year by reciting a poem in my head. There are some things I do remember now only by singing a song or by reciting a poem. Math has not been taught that way. I wish I could come out with a song or a poem containing most of the basic concepts in math which would be taught in basic schools to children, so that as they go physically, they also grow mentally with math concepts. I am sure someone is good at writing songs or writing poems and is reading this article of mine. This person I hope will be touched and will come out with a very nice song or poem that will make children like math. 

Is math a language? 
 This I came across, in a comment by someone to an article. This is from John Giano, March 8, 2013, “I think you hit the nail on the head. Math is a language. It is a set of symbols and concepts that relate and work together. Why everyone hate’s math is probably because the language is not spoken from birth and its rarely spoken in a dialect that people can understand. For most people, it will be like trying to learn Japanese; reading it as a native English speaker, and having the instructor pronouncing with a Russian accent.” A Nigerian comedian also joked about this issue of math in one of his comedies using a scenario; a teacher giving an expression like 2x +3 = 4 and asking the students to find x when x is already in the expression, not a quote though. His argument is valid. The math language used is not understood by many and is barely made to be understood. 
  
No sense of application of math
Math as thought in most cases is not pointed out what the application of that topic in real life situations is. What math seeks to do is prepare the individual and providing him with the basic concepts to be applied in the next difficult topics. Math for example, prepares an individual in pre-calculus for calculus. Maths is thought as if we were going to be students forever without having to apply the concepts in normal life activities. I remember I once asked my math teacher what the importance of construction was. I was given a bogus answer. He only told me, “You will know its importance as you go higher.” Where is this higher everyone talk about? 

Who likes to told openly that he’s wrong
If you are the type who hates to be told the simple truth that you are wrong, then, you will think math is not your field. Math has a unique answer to a particular problem and you cannot have two different answers to the same math problem. All these answers are expected to be proven, some in a somewhat simple way, some too, very abstract. In any given math problem, one is expected to follow some specific procedures in coming up with that answer, if not, wrong!! Math is unlike those other subjects where you may be asked a question and you are expected to share your ideas. Your ideas no matter what, cannot be totally marked as wrong.
This math is issue is a problem of the whole universe. Your comments to this article will be very necessary for coming out with a solution to it. There is this video; “Khan academic video” that I will like people to watch in order to build their desire for math. I also recommend the article titled, “Six Easy Ways of Performing Arithmetic Computations” and also a book titled “EASY WAYS FOR PERFORMING ARITHMETIC COMPUTATIONS BY: BAGILIKO JOHN”. They seek to prove to readers how computations in arithmetic or math can be made so easily and interesting.

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