Myths about Math - Clear thinking for Teachers
Remember struggling through math class? Remember learning
fractions? For most people it was not a happy experience. For
new teachers, facing a room of young faces, teaching math can be
intimidating. The first step is to set aside any emotional
reactions based on your experiences, and approach it fresh, with
an open mind.
Perhaps more than other subjects there are a huge number or
misconceptions about teaching math and hopefully this article
will dispel 'myths about math.' Lets look at a few:
1. Math ability is inherited. Perhaps this comes from our
"genius parents produce genius children" myth, which has
absolutely no basis. Confidence is very important for math just
like anything else. Most students that apply themselves, are
reasonable confident and with average intelligence do well in
2. You don't need to study for math. Somehow math is different!
Really! Wouldn't that be nice! Unfortuneatly, here in the real
world, math is just like any other subject and requires study
3. Boys are better mathematicians than girls. This is pure
gender-based stereotyping, which has no basis.
4. If you don't know how to solve a problem after you read it,
you probably can't solve it. Solving math problems is just like
solving any type of problem. It is a process where different
approachs must be tried and intuition and creativity play a
part. When you learn how to swim, you start at the shallow end
of the pool.
5. Logic is needed for math and intuition is not needed.
Intuition is one of the most important aspect of problem
solving. Everyone has intuition, we just haven't learned to use
or trust it.
6. Logic is needed for math not creativity. It requires
imagination, intellect, intuition, and aesthetic about the
rightness of things.
7. There is one right way to get the right answer. Math problems
can be solved in a variety of ways. There is no best way.
8. Counting on your fingers is bad. Counting on fingers shows an
understanding of arithmetic, rather than memorized.
Learning math is more important than ever in today's
technologically advancing world. Technology requires that we
solve more difficult and complex problems all the time. Thinking
clearly about math yourself is the first step in teaching
children to also thinking clearly about math.