Maths Misery – Post 16

Why is it going wrong for some young people? Lainy Russell believes that maths taken out of context just seems pointless and abstract. Telling them why its relevant in their lives can lead to a big leap in understanding and motivation.
Girl throwing papers in air

If you’ve ever been on holiday in a non-English speaking country, you may have seen an English person saying something to a local that they didn’t understand. As the local indicates their non-comprehension, the English person says the same thing several times over, sometimes louder, sometimes slower and occasionally over gesticulating, while using distorting mouth movements, none of which adds to the local’s understanding. Now imagine a scene in a classroom anywhere in England, where a child is sitting in a maths class listening to the teacher explain an equation. The child doesn’t understand, so the teacher explains it again. The child still doesn’t understand, but this time does not ask for help, as they don’t want to look stupid in front of their friends and know they won’t understand the explanation anyway. The child learns to depend on their friends and this masks much of their misunderstanding. 

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