We live in the world of quick gratification. Hungry? Eat something right now! Bored? Watch a movie or play computer games. Kids these days receive gratification instantly. The concept of putting in some effort for that gratification never takes hold because everywhere the child receives the gratification he craves for immediately. Mathematics is rewarding for those who are good at it, but a bane for children who are used to instant gratification. When you are studying mathematics, you do not receive instant gratification. When you study mathematics, your brain requires both active time and passive time in which the brain adjusts to and accepts the new requirement that the topic demands from it. This takes time. In a world where everything is available at the click of a button, putting so much effort into something is itself a major strain.
Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that children at a young age love a subject mostly because they love the teacher. It is true. Now, think how many math teachers in our schools are truly lovable?! The image of a math teacher is that of a stern, portly character with no sense of humour and certainly no intention to make children love mathematics. It is little wonder that a child who is taught mathematics by such a teacher will definitely hate maths.
Math phobia can be caused by the drab, repetitive and uninteresting ways in which math is taught in kindergarten and elementary schools. Worksheet after worksheet is given often, which would drive any child nuts. How many of our math teachers know how to teach maths using games? This is particularly important in elementary school and kindergarten. A few sites that help teachers with math games are
In fact, it is not just up to the teachers to make maths interesting. Playing math games can be a beautiful bonding exercise between parent and child. Not only will your first grader learn mathematics with ease, he/she will consider it fun since their beloved parents are showing them how to do it by playing games! Mathematical games, but still – games! There is an ocean of available software and sites online. Playing mathematical games with your child is a creative, emotional, enjoyable, and fulfilling process. You are not just a parent who dictates orders from above, you are a peer and a friend to your child since you are doing what he/she has to do. This can be challenging for those who don’t know mathematics, but if you can learn to use an Android phone or an iPhone, you can learn first grade mathematics. To make your life simpler and easier we’ve picked out some excellent sites so that you don’t have to hunt for them:
The last site is perhaps the best one to start with.
Math phobia surely is not incurable. However, prevention is better than cure, here also. Parents should try to develop mathematical skills even before sending kids to kindergarten. You could just play with pebbles and add them up! Or marbles, or anything at all!
You see these pebbles. You can easily teach your toddler to count, using these pebbles. Then you can make a rectangle with them! Or a square with them! It just needs a little bit of imagination and creativity, and above all, time. You need to spend time with your toddler, to look at nature, and see mathematical possibilities in the simplest of things. If you do that, he or she will be ready to learn maths at school. And will never fall into the trap of math phobia.