Many children have mathematical problems but some students find it much harder than others. These may otherwise be bright children who have a great understanding of logic and reasoning but still fail spectacularly on homework, tests, and quizzes. Over time, repeated mathematical poor performance can cause a student to become disheartened and believe that he or she is “dumb” or not good at the specific topic. Furthermore, as math is cumulative, falling back might mean that a learner forgets much of what is taught. It’s important to have basic math skills, no matter what profession an person chooses to pursue. This is why recognizing problems early on is important. With the right balance of classroom accommodation and learning strategies, each student will reach their full potential in mathematics.
There are several reasons why a child may have math difficulties at home, ranging from low motivation due to academic stress to a shallow grasp of how to apply and perform numerical computations. But sometimes the root cause of poor performance is something else, like a disparity in learning or a difficulty in motor skills.
Dyscalculia is the most frequently detected condition in which individuals struggle to perform simple arithmetic and have trouble attempting to manipulate numbers in the same way as their peers. Nonetheless, students with dyslexia may also have trouble with reading numbers and having to follow word problems with math at school. When doing paper work, they may rearrange digits, or correctly solve problems, but record their responses in the wrong way.
Children with ADD / ADHD have the capability to rush ahead and skip a step or struggle to focus and be unable to check their work once a problem is over. Students with dysgraphia and dyspraxia, who are having difficult time trying to write by hand, may become so overwhelmed by number formation that they make silly mistakes or get the steps in the wrong order in an equation. Finally, children with visual processing disorders may lack the visual-spatial learning ability necessary to align numbers, read graphs and perform basic geometric operations.
Math is one of the topics that both children and adults have little understanding of. This is because while pre-school maths are about realistic problem solving, patterns being observed, shapes being recognized in your environment and learning to count, secondary and high school math teaching is more abstracted. It often concentrates on rotary learning and solving equations in books – think arithmetic and time tables – that can turn off students and make them believe that math skills are not relevant to their daily lives.
Indeed, many students lament that math is boring. At school, they might not see the point of learning algebra, geometry or calculus. Or they may question why they need to be able to do basic arithmetic’s such as adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing by hand when they can easily find answers using a calculator or a computer.
The answer to this last point is multi-fold. One, you might not always have a calculator at your disposal; two, even if you do, trying to understand how and why to do it for yourself provides a stronger basis for future learning, and three, doing arithmetic is a mental form of exercise that strengthens your working memory.
Math is much more than arithmetical, though. Much of what goes into solving multi-step word problems is identifying the problem, choosing a suitable approach to solving it (there may be more than one), and following the correct operation order.
Some Valuable Suggestions:
Motivating and inspiring learners by demonstrating them real-world situations involving the use of math outside classrooms. Explain how math works, try and convince learners that it’s not all about arithmetic, and get them excited to give it a go and feel comfortable trying out different methodologies to problem-solving, even if that means they don’t always get the right answer.
The teacher gives visual explanations, demonstrates research on the wall, and uses physical objects that students can reach and push around, where possible. Multi-sensory feedback can improve learning by making it easier for students to interact with a lesson, and can also enhance memory content. It is extremely important to promote understanding of a subject that can be very abstract.
It can be daunting for the students to write down information and process it at the same time. It may also be that copying from the board can cause numbers to be transposed or recorded in a manner that makes no sense for the work any longer. It can help encourage a child to use a computer to take notes, or to pair them with a note-taking buddy.