It’s no secret that Maths teachers are constantly battling to keep their students on top of the subject. Why Maths? Because the majority of our students don’t understand why Maths is a necessary subject, and therefore simply lack the motivation to learn it.
If you’re a Maths teacher, you have most likely heard these questions whispered around your classroom too many times to count, but have you ever had a good answer? Well we do:
“Why do I need to know Maths anyway?”
Imagine a world without Maths. Most of your students are probably thinking, “Pshh… when will I ever need to know that a linear equation is calculated as y=mx+b?” The answer: how about when you are figuring out what your income will be over a period of time, or estimating how much your taxi will charge in correlation to the distance you need to travel? The point is, many people use all types of equations daily, even if they don’t realise it, and most of the time, they don’t. That doesn’t mean you’re not using it!
“But computers can do it all for me”
Why do we still need to know the Maths basics if we have computers to do the work for us? This is a question that regularly circles the classroom. If you’re struggling to find a convincing answer, the short of it is – computation only accelerates and enhances our problem-solving abilities; it doesn’t replace them. Although it’s hard to relate algebra to real-world problems, we are constantly using a form of it. These daily issues require us to turn a problem into a mathematical equation, solve it, and then interpret it into a solution. A computer will generally only help with the middle of these three steps, and even then we still need a good understanding of the equation to be confident in the solution. Even your students can’t argue that!
Learners need solid Maths skills to cross into adulthood with confidence and independence. A strong mathematical foundation will take a learner far, guiding them when they come across challenges that require critical and logical thinking.
As a Maths teacher, it’s important not to doubt your significant role in a learner’s life, and to stand firm in the necessity of Maths knowledge. If you believe what you are teaching your students is important, and can back it, they will believe it too.