5 Signs that your Math Class has Problems

Do you see these common math class flaws ?

Whether you’re a teacher or a student, you might have noticed that -with the current educational system- the content in math is re-taught at the beginning of every school year, picking up months before where we left off. Since, logically, these concepts or skills were already taught and learned, why do we do this? Answer: because if we don’t we’re screwed.

Most students forget how to perform basic math operations over the summer, mainly due to low interest and the belief that they need to memorize formulas and procedures only for exams. Exams over? Those memories are gone!

I want to ask you something -whether you’re a teacher or parent -. Have you ever thought about the fact that you will retire in a world ruled by students who only memorized content as a “patch/ short-term measure” to pass an exam? If I were you, I would be worried.

Here are 5 symptoms that indicate that your math class needs a change:

1. Lack of initiative.

How many times have you written/shown a math problem in front of your class, you watch the time go by and no one is trying to solve it? Or you can watch your students waiting for you to explain it so they can copy the solution in their notebooks? This is a clear sign of lack of initiative.

2. Lack of perseverance

You noticed that your students try to do an exercise once, do not get it and just give up? Well, perseverance is not there.

The formulation of a problem is more important than its solution – however, giving up in the formulation process is critical and destructive in the educational process.

• Albert Einstein

3. Lack of retention

Do your students ask the same thing over and over again? Sometimes, this is because the concepts taught are unclear. Of course, the educational needs students vary and some need more explanation than others. However, if you already explained something in different ways and still receive questions, the chances are that your students are only memorizing mathematical procedures instead of assimilating them to apply them in different scenarios.

4. Aversion to word problems

If you present your students with two different math problems, let’s say, an equation vs a word problem, most of the students will choose to solve the equation first, because in these kinds of problems they do not need to think further to discriminate the information that is really useful to solve the problem. (For identifying essential information, check out this video.) In contrast, in word problems, students must read, analyze and understand what is being asked and what information is needed to get the right result.

5. Eagerness for formulas

The use of math formulas is a great help to solve procedures quickly and safely, but what happens when you face a problem in which you do not know what formula is needed?

It is important to make sure that our students understand how a formula works and why it was established before applying it as a guide to solve a problem.

These are some symptoms to keep in mind when evaluating your math class, if you noticed at least two of them, maybe it’s time for a math makeover!

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