Culture & Entertainment

4 reasons kids aren't bad at math, we're just lazy

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

4 reasons kids aren't bad at math, we're just lazy

By: Guest Blogger
Why do we throw around the term "bad at math?" We toss off this statement all the time as adults, but it sends a negative message to our kids. (And yes, there is such a legitimate thing as bad at math, it's called dyscalculia.) I'm guilty of this myself, getting flustered when I have to figure out anything harder than addition and subtraction. "I'm just bad at math, heh heh. That's why I'm a writer and editor, heh heh." It's lazy and wrong. And the crazy thing is it's very socially acceptable to say you're bad at math, no one judges you. Here's the thing though, you can always get better at math, it's not fixed. We can get better at playing the piano, handwriting, typing, sewing, playing softball, running. Why is math any different? I believe that "bad at math" is false thing we've been conditioned to believe. 1. We don't bring math into our family lives the way we do reading. I remember that my younger cousins, whose mom was born abroad, would have an abacus with them to do fun math stuff on the road, the way some of us might bring books and colouring pages. 2. We need to believe we can get better at math. It's not a fixed skill. Quark.com has this amazing article that you need to read called " There's one key difference between kids who excel at math and those who don't." 3. We have to also invest the time to get better at math. Practice makes perfect, but not for math? That doesn't hold with anything we know about getting better at anything. Just because something doesn't come easy doesn't mean you're bad at it. So what if math makes you cry? Difficult things are frustrating. Frustration is part of life. There is also a ridiculous, lazy and racist notion out there that  kids of certain ethnicities are better at math. Do you know how idiotic that sounds? Maybe it's that their parents value math more in their home and they spend five times longer honing these skills than the rest of us. 4. We don't want to openly acknowledge that not everyone is great at teaching math. I've heard a teacher complain about how another entire school board teaches math. I'm not saying she's right, but why the difference of opinion? I've heard a fellow parent say that her kid's school doesn't teach math properly. So maybe there is something not quite right with how elementary level math -- the most important math -- is taught, that we've produced generations of people that say they suck at math. So why are we so complacent about it? What do you think? You're welcome to yell at me. -Helen (Photo credit: Collections École Polytechnique / Jérémy Barande via Wikimedia Commons) Watch this: and here's what happens when you invest lots of time into improving your kid's math skills...
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4 reasons kids aren't bad at math, we're just lazy

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