Many of us remember struggling with maths at school, trying to figure out the Pythagoras’ theorem while our heads were still spinning with algebra, fractions and long division, says Luc McKay, elementary maths teacher at Australian International School (AIS).
Rote learning was common, and we were expected to memorise times tables without really understanding why or how the calculations worked.
Why is maths so important?
Maths is essentially about problem solving, and good problem-solvers will excel in almost any situation. In the modern world, despite the advancements in technology, there is not a single profession that doesn’t require some form of basic maths skills, whether it’s a CEO or a shop assistant.
And it’s not only about number skills. Logical thinking and the ability to approach a problem from different angles are essential interpersonal skills, which impact how we communicate and form relationships, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.
How can I support my child’s learning at home?
Focus on process and strategy rather than simply looking for the right answer. Forcing children to work quickly on maths problems will make them feel anxious and under pressure. Explore different ways of bringing maths into your daily home routine. For example, use puzzles and dice games to help develop number sense or try solving problems in context. When out for lunch, watching sports or cooking dinner, look for real situations that present mathematical problems and encourage your child to solve them. Reinforce what has been done well, and don’t dwell on what has been done wrong.
From The Finder (Issue 294), August 2018
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