Stanford math Professors, Boaler and Dweck’s research shows that a winning mindset is all it takes for students to excel in a particular subject. So, why not math? Make math for success your and your child’s new motto. Inspire them with a growth mindset, to accept their failures and strive forward towards success with dedication and hard work, empowering them to take charge of their destinies.
How can you boost your child’s math success?
1. Abacus / Vedic Maths for faster mental math
Many parents enrol their children into learning Abacus thinking that it will improve their mathematical ability by leap and bound. While it teaches children to count faster, develops their photographic memory, it doesn’t necessarily improve their cognitive abilities and ability to understand mathematical theorems and concepts which are more imaginative in nature.
The abacus at its time was a fantastic tool that was widespread and popular because it helped make math easier and more accessible to people and coding is now taking it further in the modern era and making it easier for even children to solve complex problems in an increasingly complicated society.
Enrol them in a coding school like WhiteHat Jr. where they will be able to visualize mathematical concepts and it will be different to anything they have ever done before. It will help them discard any psychological and emotional inertia as well as give them a thrilling confidence building experience.
2. Practice a sum a day
Students are more likely to remember a concept taught if they practice sums allotted on that day. This will give them immense confidence. They will also have the opportunity to address any questions they might have or confusions they might have developed related to the concept, which will be evident in their work through. However, as the teacher will comb through their doubts, they will get better and their confidence will soar.
If they are unable to get the support through school, then it might be worth investing in a one-on-one tutor. With regular practice they are also more likely to ace their tests as they will only have to review tasks they have already accomplished. This will prevent them from getting stressed in the last minute as they would have conquered the syllabus in smaller steps instead of letting them pile up.
3. Break one question into smaller questions
Getting your child into the habit of breaking down the main question into smaller questions will not only make the solution seem more achievable. But, incorporated with the habit of listing the known information and the unknown can help the child format the solutions systematically. This modular approach is very important for critical thinking. The iterative process of questioning the question can also be applied to other disciplines.
4. Incorporate different methods of learning the concepts
It is essential for students in the early years of their education to realise the different types of information, and filter it down into categories which they belong. Children could even be taught to allocate colours to their notes. For example, every time your child comes across a formula in maths, they could draw a box around it in blue or any colour of their choice. Whereas, if its an example, then a different colour. This will help them sort out information in their mind and trigger when to apply the information received through practice. Depending on the type of learner your child is, it might be worth investing time to sit and strategize the best mixture of techniques for their learning.
5. Revision and rework mistakes
There are different revision techniques that can be employed and are listed below:
(i) Retrieval or testing using flash cards: Encourage your child to create and learn from flashcards, as they will get a chance to familiarise themselves with the information on the flashcards, and then they can even sort them out into piles of flashcards that they have mastered and flashcards they are yet to master and revise the ones they are yet to master over again.
(ii) Spacing: As spacing out revision requires information to be forgotten due to the long intervals between the period taught and the period examined, information is to be relearnt. This process of relearning and reworking math problems is likely to be stored in the child’s long-term memory.
(iii) Interleaving: This technique helps students make connections between different topics as well as discriminate between different types of problems, allowing them to identify the most ideal thought process for each.
As children seek to emulate parents, it is important for you to address any apprehensions you might have toward the subject and dismiss them in front of your child, giving them the empowering and fulfilling experience of solving math questions or puzzles.
7. Teach someone else
Learning by teaching also known as the Protégé Effect, works as simply as explaining a concept to another person in your own words to understand it better yourself. It has been found that this method leads to long-term retention and deeper learning. At the same time, it also encourages your child to develop interpersonal skills and hence, confidence. If they are unable to find peers who are interested in learning, then it might be worth getting a tutor who is willing and able to give your child the space to grow by getting your child to explain what they have learnt.
8. Practice showing the working behind each step
Ensure you or the teacher is able to see the child’s thinking process when solving questions, instead of simply writing down the answers. This is a great approach to revision, especially as the child can then understand the reasoning behind the concept instead of just mechanically plug in numbers.
9. Application of math to real world problems
A great resource for your child to see is Mathigon, as it lists all of the applications of mathematics, from calorie counting and cooking to astronomy and forecasting weather. A crucial element of applying math to real life is time management, not only reading the time of the clock, but also managing tasks within a specific time-frame.
10. Read books that incorporate math or logical thinking
The flow and practice with which reading comes to children, numbers should also be encouraged to recreationally conquer their imagination and spur their curiosity. Books are the best way to introduce mathematical concepts and build interest, making math come alive. Stories provide a context for learning and provides children with a purpose to understand a particular concept. Some resources to give your children are Mathwire, Letreadmath.com, and Mathstory.com to name a few.
This article has listed the ten ways of boosting your child’s math skills that will also enable them to develop versatile interpersonal skills, applications to real life problems as well as become analytical, critical and logical thinkers. Armed with a growth mindset, no failure can prevent them conquering their ambitions as math is virtually applicable in every discipline. Did you know famous freedom fighter, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, studied and taught mathematics? More recently, Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix also majored in math. I conclude with a famous quote by Albert Einstein, “pure mathematics is, in its own way, the poetry of logical ideas.”