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Why don’t kids like math?

Why don't kids like math?
Why don't kids like math?

Mathematics is a science that accompanies man from birth. Already in infancy, every mother teaches her child to show numbers on the fingers, in preschool children love math education classes and they do not cause any problems for them. Therefore, about 80% of children and adolescents at school do not like math, and in many students this subject is extremely scary.

Considering the enormous scale of this problem, attention should be paid to the significant causes of this phenomenon.

The concept of learning is a very broad process, defined as a constant change in our knowledge and skills. Because people learn the most in childhood, thanks to the intensive development of the nervous system and as a result of constantly gaining new experiences, a child beginning the sixth year of life enters the stage of comprehensive development of all functions and skills necessary in the learning process. Hence, in the upbringing and teaching of a child at this age, special attention is paid to systematic and harmonious interactions so that they can achieve a good start in school.

At the beginning of schooling, the child’s behavior is characterized by great interest in the surrounding world and practical resourcefulness. However, each person develops individually and differently, depending on many factors of a biological and environmental nature. Therefore, for a teacher, important information should be: who is his or her student and whether the measures and requirements used are tailored to the diverse abilities of the students. Failure to ensure the same start in schooling and optimal conditions for every child can lead to learning difficulties.

But how does it happen that a child who has promised to be a good student begins to have learning difficulties and they relate to different subjects. Which is why the most common problem for children is learning math. It very often happens that a diligent student who systematically attends lessons begins to have problems with mathematics, and new batch of material causes increasing fear and the tasks to be solved and, consequently, the teacher.

This problem now affects many children around the world, and if neglected in primary classes, it can lead to widespread failure in later years of education and promote the development of negative attitudes towards school.

Because learning other subjects is based on basic arithmetic skills, e.g. physics, chemistry or geography, failure to master the basics of mathematics may lead to disqualification of a child, so it is so important to find reasons that make it difficult to teach this subject.

  • One of the reasons for failure is a lack of maturity to learn mathematics. One should distinguish here an appropriate level of operational reasoning, awareness of how to count objects correctly, a relatively high level of emotional resistance to difficult situations and appropriate manual dexterity, precision of perception and eye-hand coordination.

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Children who have not reached maturity face great difficulties. They don’t understand the concept of a natural number, they don’t know how to add and subtract. They are vulnerable to difficult situations that always accompany mathematical tasks. According to the research conducted, children who started learning without reaching maturity face difficulties in learning mathematics already in the first grade.

Therefore, activating methods should be used that will allow the child to gain new experiences through self-action.

  • Another reason is the difficulty inherent in mathematics itself. Mathematics is a difficult subject that requires systematic learning, omitting a fragment leads to gaps in skills, which in turn causes a lack of understanding of the concepts.

Also, the knowledge is not always conveyed in a way that is understandable to the student, it happens that the teacher transmits the content in an encyclopedic manner and does not introduce students to active participation in the lesson. Without understanding the statements read by the teacher, the students are unable to apply them in the task, which leads to passive participation in the lesson.

  • Similarly, difficulties in learning mathematics may arise from school conditions. The large number of classes does not allow for individualization of teaching and teaching aids are still outdated. Uneconomical use of time during lessons causes the student to load with homework, which he himself cannot do on his own. Due to the lack of appropriate methods and organizational forms, students are unable to use the textbook and the mathematical text. Bad influence of the teacher does not allow for the development of self-control in solving tasks. Transferring ready-made knowledge instead of organizing activities that allow them to gain experience contributes to the regression of their thinking. Even corrective and compensatory classes do not bring the expected results, because they are conducted using the same methods as during the lessons. The result of such interactions is “forging” by heart definitions and statements that are unnecessary baggage and do not develop mathematical thinking.
  • The reason for failure may be the high jump between the beginning classes and the math curriculum in the upper grades, causing gifted students in the third grade to collapse in the next grades, because there are elements of formal reasoning in teaching, which means that those students who do not have problems. have reached appropriate intellectual maturity.
  • The level of the family environment, the parents’ attitude to school duties and the child’s health are also influencing. Bad material conditions, resulting in malnutrition, housing shortage, excess responsibilities of children and their limited activities. The structure of the family and the cultural level of parents are also important, because the prevailing conflicts and emotional tensions do not favor the proper influence on the child.
  • It is worth paying attention to the social causes of failure to learn mathematics. Lack of sufficient care for a child, indifferent attitude towards his school duties prevent success in school learning, which may lead to the emergence of an anti-social attitude. Educational mistakes, especially overprotection, are also of great importance. Relieving children in their duties, the lack of any requirements for them may make the children unable to stand up to the difficulties and school requirements. And the excess of penalties and duties limit the independence of children, which become fearful and threatened. This causes that when they start learning, their sense of danger increases and paralyzing mental processes appear, thus preventing them from performing tasks.
  • The cooperation of teachers with the student’s family home, which can be determined on the basis of the frequency of contacts between parents and teachers, also has a significant impact on failures.

Knowing the child and his or her health condition may allow us to understand the causes of his difficulties, which with frequent infections will worsen. Performing tasks may also be prevented by visual and auditory disorders, as well as delays in motor development and reduced manual dexterity.

  • Also an important cause is the frequent hyperactivity or inhibition in students. In a child with hyperactivity, it causes rashness and perfunctory thinking as well as distraction of attention. Such students, instead of focusing on the task, constantly think about how to avoid being threatened by the teacher. It is the same with inhibited students. Despite their initiative, the slow pace of cognitive processes makes it difficult to understand the task. Such a child most often expects help, and the lack of independence makes the student helpless. The growing gaps in the news create more and more difficulties and lead to a misunderstanding of more and more pieces of material.

Disturbed concentration of attention also has an unfavorable effect, which makes the activity of the tasks performed inaccurate and chaotic. The functioning of memory has the same meaning. The content that is not recorded and not understood is remembered mechanically, which does not favorably affect the progress in learning.

When discussing the causes of failures in learning mathematics, attention should be paid to the emotional side of students, which is of fundamental importance because the negative emotional reactions of a child are the result of the first failures and, at the same time, the main cause of further failures. The consequences of this may be different. Some students, despite their fear of mathematics, are able to function, while in others there is a strong blockage that also prevents learning from other subjects.

Also, the lack of motivational factors may make difficulties worse. Low learning outcomes will not be the appropriate incentives to take action, and will even become an obstacle and inhibitory factor.