What does it mean to be good at Maths?
In our Mathematics workshop, we ask our participants “When you think of mathematics, what comes to your mind?”
Roughly estimated, 50% of participants have negative associations with this STEM subject and are, as a result, convinced that they are not capable of engaging children in mathematics. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard ‘I am hopeless/horrible/useless, don’t even bother trying to teach me.’
I reckon we all agree that the goal of early education is to instill a passion for live-long learning into the little ones in our care. How are we supposed to kindle joy of mathematics if we break out in cold sweats thinking about equations and formulas?
The first step to reprogramming our way of thinking about mathematics is to understand what it means to be good at it. We seem to think that being good or bad at maths is determined by our ability to comprehend and reproduce equations. I tell you something: Until a few years ago I had no idea that maths is so much more! It blew my mind to find out that the ability to integrate geometrical shapes into a drawing is a mathematical ability and that we need mathematical skills to read a map, to measure the amount of flour we need to bake a cake and to sort our clothes by colour.