So many people hate math is because they have a big mental barrier against math which has accumulated through their growing years.
If you gave someone who hates math, a drab formal math problem, they will immediately shut their mind. But if you ask the same person a puzzle which will have same difficulty level as that of math problem then they will be interested and might jump-up to answer you.
In early age when are the subjects are introduced in schools; children are exposed to English, science and math early on.
Kids love language because they get to speak, they have been practicing it for few years, and it’s quite visual, experimental and has lot of room for experimentation and variations. With Science, kids are naturally curious and attracted to know the logic behind everything and most of their ‘Why’ question gets answered by science.
When it comes to math, thing that most teachers unfortunately do wrong is they start teaching a ‘slow-math’ to kids, math should not be taught as a slow-math. Slow math is teaching math at slow pace thinking that kids will take time to get it or absorb it. Like English and science which need to be taken slowly to absorb and get it.
By Nature in math there is no possibility of variations in answers there can be only one answer in most of the cases. Unfortunately not many of the teachers are able to bring experimental, iterative or playing model in teaching.
It is noted that the child is very much interested in math, till time he is able to read or speak 1-to-100, the child has put in this effort to learn it and is a quite an achievement in itself.
It’s only after counting, or 1-to-100, when children start’s to hate math. The exercise which the seed of math hate is when kids are exposed to do addition, subtraction and multiplication. It’s seen that child comes up with lot of answers which are wrong and which get a negative remarks, sneer by the teacher when they discover that their answer or answers were wrong. Most of the teachers don’t have long patients and don’t want children get set-in with wrong fundamentals. (Teachers think that teaching it right first time is very important as compared to course correcting any wrong fundamentals of math learnt by any kid which might be long and tedious process)
One of the answers of teaching kids math is by introducing them to Flash-math, Flash math is asking simple math questions to kids and bringing sense of urgency to answer those questions, repeat more flash question till they are unstoppable to answer, repeat these exercise whenever it can be and increase the difficulty level.
You: Quick tell me what 2+2 is,
Kid: What huh?, oh 2 plus 2 is equal to hmm 4
Kid: aah …5
Kid: (long pause) 7
As you keep on doing this exercise with kids, kids take it as a game and challenge. They get to know this game is not like slow-math in which
1st priority is correct answer and
2nd priority is speed.
In flash-math its reverse its delivery of answer as 1st priority and 2nd priority as correct answer, what this does it activates totally different set of cells in the Child’s brain with math still learnt unknowing with swift effort. Flash-math helps kids to use their kinesthetic, visual and other intelligence; they start becoming smart and fast and uses their natural fast body rhythm in math. Unlike most kids next time when there are thrown with math problem they will try to solve it mentally; they don’t first get fixated to problem, re-interpret problem and then try to arrive at the answer. Instead they just bring out the answers as easy as body reflexes. Like language math is also something that can be learnt subconsciously.
After trying flash-math exercise constantly with kids, one day you might find that you are too slow to come up with the fast question and that kids could beat you in fast-correct-answer that’s the point where miracle happened this kid is now smarter then you. He is confident, loves math and likes doing mental math.
After reading Annie M Paul’s blog, I thought of writing here reply which eventually became this blog post.