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 math. 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 and practice. 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.