Why the Poor Results in Mathematics?
By Derrick Nicholas
The debate around the consistent, some say persistent less than acceptable pass rate in the area of Mathematics for Antigua and Barbuda continues to rage both offline and online. To be fair, public school students are the major contributors to these less than acceptable outcomes.
This writer is convinced of a few facts: (i) not all teachers of Mathematics are well versed in the subject, (ii) even those teachers who are ‘versed’ in the subject have not kept up to date with new methods of delivery, (iii) not enough time is dedicated to mental Math, and (iv) many parents are unable to provide their children with the kind of support that is required at home.
It is no secret that some Mathematics teachers are not well versed in the subject.
In fact, there are teachers who simply refuse to teach certain topics, because of their own inefficiency or lack of knowledge.
As a consequence, their students are left to either fend for themselves, or seek help elsewhere.
Mathematics, like any other subject keeps evolving: the core principles remain the same, but the methods of delivery are constantly being updated.
Math teachers need to be aware of these updates, so that they can pass them on to their students.
There is no such thing as ‘new’ Math. Instead, there are new, easier ways of solving centuries old problems.
It appears that not enough time is being dedicated to mental Math.
This is a fatal error since critical thinking is required in order to develop competency. Students’ propensity to use the calculator at first instance to solve simple problems will have dire consequences for future employers.
Additionally, many students try to memorize concepts rather than understand them. Therein lies the biggest challenge to being competent in Mathematics.
As mentioned in a previous article, some parents feel intimidated when it comes to Mathematics, and are therefore reluctant to engage with the subject.
The end result is that many students are left deprived of the help they so desperately need.
This ought not to be, especially since so much help is available. Get familiar with new ways/methods of teaching math.
This will make it easier for you to provide help to your child. Even if you cannot help your child with Math, encourage him/her to practise.
If you feel the task is greater than you, get help from a tutor. As parents, our first responsibility is to our children.
Mathematics is a core subject for any course of study or line of employment.
The need for persons to be functionally literate in Mathematics is therefore very important.
The lack of functional literacy in Mathematics is evidenced all around us – in the offices, shops, and supermarkets.
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