Some students freeze when they see numbers. Some are apprehensive when asked to solve equations. This fear can be carried over from childhood to teenage or adult years. An excellent way to stop this aversion is to use creative strategies in teaching math. If you are an educator, here are some ideas for encouraging students to enjoy crunching numbers.
Be Fun and Practical
Students may not appreciate solving equations because long ones tend to bore them. There may be an overload when they see numbers alone. Using math and logic puzzles is a great way to incorporate fun while solving problems. It could be a part of the motivation or the lesson proper itself. When a student is having fun, they are more engaged.
Also, students must see the practical value of this subject. They need to see how these problems will help them in the real world. Then they will appreciate even its complexity. Give examples that they can relate to and are evident in their daily lives.
Use the Word “Yet” to Encourage
Some students think that they can only do tasks to a certain extent. Teach them to have a growth mindset. This way of thinking helps them to see that they are a work in progress. They will come to realize that it is okay if they do not get things “yet.” Also, it is fine that they can grasp the basic concept but cannot use it “yet” to solve something. This eradicates the finality that they are good at only one level.
To encourage them to grow, they must feel safe and acknowledged. Thus, foster an environment that does not magnify and ridicule mistakes. Also, celebrate small successes. Be with them as they overcome important points of the equation, not only when they get the final answer.
When a student reaches their preteen and teen years, what their peers have to say holds weight. As an educator, you can use this to an advantage. Working in groups and using peer tutoring might put the math concepts to a level that only a peer can explain. Of course, you will be there to clarify and verify things. This method also gives a chance for advanced students not to get bored.
Boost Creativity with Multiple Solutions
One thing that frustrates some students is when, after all their efforts, they do not get the final answer. To lessen discouragement, find some equations that support many solutions. This breaks the rigidity of the process. The students’ creativity will be challenged as they look for a different way to get answers.
Also, do not forget to ask them how were they able to reach the answer. This will help them see that the process is as important as the answer.
Let Them Know It Is More Than What Is Written
Some say that the greatest measure whether one has learned something is if they can explain it well. Some students are good at solving but cannot relay what they have done. Some rely on papers, calculators, or computers to reach answers.
Help them reach higher potential. Let them do some tasks mentally and make them more adept at verbal explanations. This will give them a sense of being a mathematician in their own right. This will boost their confidence and help them like math more.
Numbers are important in everyday life. Being afraid of or indifferent to them is futile. But enjoying them depends on how they were presented during one’s time in school.