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Math has an im­age prob­lem. The love of it is en­joyed by some, while most of the time it is seen as dreary and dif­fi­cult; thus feared or hated.

I of­ten hear this re­mark, “I hate Math­e­mat­ics”. As this neg­a­tive thought form creeps in the minds, it pre­vents growth in the field. Learning through fear never works. How­ever, we can­not deny the fact that Math­e­mat­ics is the cra­dle of all cre­ations. It is a sig­nif­i­cant part of our daily rou­tine. The fear of it, while un­de­ni­ably knowing its rel­e­vance, is a prob­lem we need to con­front and solve in the early stage of a child’s devel­op­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to a hand out by Pro­fes­sor Jo Boaler, here are sev­eral steps to trans­form fear of Math to even­tu­ally lov­ing it.

1.En­cour­age chil­dren to play math puz­zles and games. We all know that chil­dren en­joy play­ing games. Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle by Davies (1995) Games pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for build­ing self-con­cepts and de­vel­op­ing positive at­ti­tudes to­wards Math­e­mat­ics, through re­duc­ing the fear of fail­ure and er­ror.

2.Fo­cus on logic, not right or wrong. Do not achieve per­fec­tion. Give im­por­tance on the process of get­ting the an­swer than get­ting the cor­rect one.

3.Never as­so­ciate Math with speed. Forc­ing a child to fin­ish a work­sheet or prob­lem within a set time will only make him more anx­ious. Mas­ter­ing logic is more im­por­tant than work­ing quickly through prob­lems.

4.Never share with your chil­dren the idea that you were bad in Math sub­ject at school or you dis­like it. This will only start a neg­a­tive feel­ing to­wards the sub­ject.

5.En­cour­age num­ber sense. Ex­plain your own strat­egy with­out forc­ing it to a child. Let the child dis­cover one or two ways to get the an­swer.

6.En­cour­age a “growth mind-set”. Set the child’s mind that learning Math­e­mat­ics is great fun and beneficial. Let the chil­dren know that they have un­lim­ited math po­ten­tial and that be­ing good in num­bers is all about work­ing hard.

No­body is born good or bad in Math­e­mat­i­cal abil­ity. Ev­ery­thing is a prod­uct of love in the process of study­ing it. There’s no such thing as a math ge­nius. In­stead, a per­son must com­bine his/ her ef­fort and knowl­edge prac­tic­ing math skill in or­der to ex­cel. Any­one who has done poorly in math can mas­ter and love it with enough ef­fort and per sever ance.

— oOo— The au­thor is Head Teacher 1 Des­ig­nate at Ca­machiles Na­tional High School, Divi­sion of Mabalacat City

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