Saturday, October 1, 2011

Everyone can learn mathematics!

Here are some important things to remember when learning mathematics (known as math or maths for short). Learning mathematics is like learning another language, so at first it will be hard but it will get progressively easier. A lot of concepts in mathematics are inter-related, so knowing one helps you understand many others. Being frustrated is not a problem, it is a natural part of the learning process, so don't give up. You can do it!
1.      Create learning time. Make sure you have at least an hour at least every day in a week to dedicate to learning mathematics.
2.      Become acquainted with the vocabulary. Keep a mathematical dictionary by your side as you study. Many areas of mathematics require knowing a certain amount of mathematical vocabulary and it is less frustrating to be able to quickly look up the meanings.
3.      Get at least two reference books. This way, you will have two different explanations and one of the explanations may make better sense to you than the other; or a combination of both will help you to "get it".
4.      Tackle subjects along with their prerequisites. Many concepts are related and knowing one helps you understand the other. If you didn't grasp one concept as well as you should have earlier, set aside a little time to revisit it and learn some more and then combine it with the new concept. Often, the new concept will help the older one to gel in your mind.
5.      Practice with many problems. Do as many mathematics problems as you can lay your hands on - even those beyond the class. This will assist you in getting a good feel for the topics and will likely help much of mathematics become "second nature" to you.
6.      Always ask for help if you don't know how to do something. Also never stop trying to learn something because you say it is too hard keep working at it.
·         Frustration is part of the process - don't give up just because you have a hard time understanding some concept.
·         Tackle all the basic stuff all at once and spend an hour every day learning one of the basics like algebra and geometry.
·         A good tutor once a week can really help to straighten out math problems; make sure your tutor is very understanding and can express the concepts well. Try university level students as a good source of tutors.
·         Regular practice will ease your challenges.
·         It cannot be stressed enough: Frustration is part of the process so don't give up.
·         Study as hard as you can and practise each and everyday
·         Mathematics is not a passive activity. You cannot learn mathematics by reading a textbook like a novel. You must be active and play with the concepts you learn. Can you apply them to areas not discussed in the book? Can you try to reformulate the concepts in a more personal way? Could you describe them to another person? If you don't like your textbook, try to say exactly why, and then try to rewrite the relevant section in a better way. The key is to pursue the mathematics actively: don't think you can accumulate a mathematical education by simply reading a textbook.
·         Don't just think harder, think smarter.
·         Solve the easier problems first, so you can mentally warm up your brain for the more complicated ones.
·         Progress through the levels of mathematics. Work your way up to advanced mathematics through this progression: Basic algebra, basic geometry, basic calculus, intermediate algebra, regular calculus, number theory, linear algebra, advanced algebra, combinatorics, analysis, and topology. However, note that many school districts do the progression of math in a different pattern. More commonly, pre algebra -> algebra I -> Geometry -> Algebra II (with Trig) -> Pre- Calculus -> Calculus (AP optional) -> statistics (assuming you are already two years advanced).
All of these steps and tips are valid if and only if:
·         Pay full attention during the class
·         Do the homework regularly
My child: Social connections and privileges at school
My child: Alcohol, youth and prohibitions
My child: Grandparents
My child: Children's Birthday
My child: Research shows: Parents lie

No comments: