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Why is Mathematics so Difficult?

Out of the many courses taught in school, Mathematics is probably the only one that has gained a preconceived idea of it being a very difficult subject to learn about. Although many people are good at Math, a lot of students, regardless of the grade level they are in, are still not very fond of the subject. To some, Mathematics can appear as a complicated and monotonous discipline—hence, the students' constant display of disinterest in it.

Unlike other subjects, Math deals with many numbers, formulas, and arithmetic operations; because of this, it gives off an impression that it is not as relatable and enjoyable as the other branches of study. Undoubtedly, Math is something that doesn't come intuitively, and understanding the reason behind a child's adverse behaviour towards it will help address the problem and even prevent "math anxiety".

Why Do Students Struggle With Math?

Left Brain vs. Right Brain Dominance

invictus_phnompenh_library_reading.jpgBeing left or a right-brain thinker is one of the most known factors contributing to students' performance when it comes to Math concepts. A theory that is more commonly known as the right-brain, left-brain dominance theory, indeed affects a person's attitude towards the subject.

The theory suggests that right-brained people are more skilled and interested in matters related to emotions, creativity, and expression; left-brained ones on the other hand are more into logic, reasoning, language, and critical thinking.

With such a popular theory in place, it can be deduced that students can indeed act according to their brain dominance.

Mastery Process

Students, whether they are in middle school or in high school, have different learning curves. One reason why many students find Math so hard is because of how it was taught to them.

Without a solid, clear plan on how the subject is going to be discussed, Math can easily seem difficult to the participating class. Because of its objective characteristics, mastering Mathematics can be fully dependent on building a good foundation.

If one's foundation is weak and the teacher decides to move on to the next concept, students will most likely struggle with understanding the more complicated topics.

Poor Topic Explanation

The dreaded "math anxiety" is often rooted in poor teaching methods. Since Mathematics involves a hefty amount of numbers and problem-solving, it should be clearly and thoroughly taught to every single person who is trying to learn the discipline.

Before a student can be adept in his or her arithmetic skills, the educator should see to it that the process being used in teaching Math is effective and is explained well. Educators should ensure that the message they are delivering is being received by the students. Poor explanation of topics can add to the emotional and logical challenges being faced by students in Mathematics.

Investing little to no time and effort in understanding the subject

Math involves a lot of multi-step processes which require dedication from both the learning student and the teaching educator.

In a Math class, students should also take the necessary steps in order to understand better the concepts being discussed. Since Math is an objective subject which needs logic and reasoning, it's important for children to dedicate some of their time and effort, even when not in school, to study and 

Lack of support from educators

Children have a unique way of learning things and since comprehension plays a vital role when dealing with Mathematics, the approach of educators also becomes a significant part of the student's learning process.

Teachers should know how to correctly assess and respond to a child's performance in the subject. When educators fail to show enough support, students may lose interest or motivation in learning. Mathematics can be a complex subject to learn but when educators offer ample assistance to their students, children can adjust easily and may even develop a fascination with it.


Dealing With Math: How to Make It Less Difficult

1. Reinforce one’s foundation

Mathematics is not at all subjective. It is based on arithmetic and number theories that use specific processes in order to be solved, in which the answers are always fixed. But although Math is complex, dealing with it shouldn't be impossible. Students, no matter the age, should be introduced to Mathematics in the right way. 

In order for children to cope well, the foundation of learning should be given utmost importance. When it comes to Mathematics, there are multiple factors that contribute to the strengthening of one's core but the educators and the curriculum in which the students are engaged in play a huge role in properly reinforcing subject foundations. 

When children are supported and involved in a program that is flexible and effective, their journey in school will improve and everything else will follow smoothly.

2. Hire a tutor

Getting a tutor who can clearly explain the topics that are difficult to understand should improve a child's performance and boost his or her confidence. Students who find it hard to analyze Mathematical concepts require support from knowledgeable adults so hiring a tutor can make a huge difference.

With good tutoring, challenging matters can be simplified and explained well to children.

3. Set aside a consistent time period for practiceinvictus_singapore_students_talking.jpg

Dedicating regular time periods for studying the subject will help students form a habit of perseverance and consistency. By allocating a fixed period for learning, children may feel more motivated to comply with the activities and modules needed to be reviewed.

This way, they will know that the particular time set for Mathematics is a period to focus and study—they will have to finish all subject-related tasks first before engaging in leisure.

4. Don't let false premises affect your child

View the subject in an objective manner because fear and prejudice can affect one’s perception greatly. It can be helpful to not regard Mathematics as a "hard" subject to learn and understand but instead, instil to children that just like English or Science, it can also be enjoyed, learned, and mastered.

Mathematics can be easy and simple because once the student is already familiar with how it works, he or she can seamlessly navigate around it when analyzing and solving numbers.

Invictus and Singapore Mathematics

Rather than emotions, people are more inclined in undergoing logical processes when dealing with Mathematics. Since it is an objective subject, it can easily intimidate a student. But because of this, it also means that the hurdles in learning Math can be solved by simply knowing how Mathematics works, how it affects people, and how it responds to different teaching styles and approaches.

Invictus International School offers Singapore Mathematics Curriculum, an educational program that highlights a spiral design where topics are revisited and extended. It is based on the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) Approach which posits that students learn in 3 stages: real objects, pictures, and symbols. Invictus' curriculum methods help students learn at a rational level rather than a set of rules—allowing children to have a better understanding of the concepts at a much wider scale.

Visit to learn more about the Singapore Mathematics Curriculum.