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Is Math Really That Hard?

Is Math Really That Hard?

What emotions come to mind when you hear the word Math? 

For most students the emotions are negative and there must be some underlying factors as to why most students see Math in a negative way.

In this article we discuss factors that may affect students’ attitudes towards Math and their desire to learn the subject. 

We offer ways teachers and students can work together to make learning Math in the online classroom (or traditional classroom) easier.

A free guide on how Math teachers and students can work together to build Math confidence is available for download at the end of this article. 

Table of Contents

Allowing Emotions In Math

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How can teachers and students work to improve their Math learning experience? 

Watch our video to see that HOW we learn the subject, teacher intuition, and emotions can have an important role to play in getting students help with improving their Math learning goals. 

Do Students Really Hate Math?

Students who do not find any enjoyment in learning Math will make their lack of enthusiasm know to all. They will either make excuses to avoid answering questions, or will sit quietly and not answer any questions out of fear. 

Students may be afraid to answer because they fear their answers are wrong, which shows the teacher and the rest of the class that they did not understand the question. 

Teachers should not dismiss these students who seem to convey that they hate Math, but instead have the students come to see in their own time that it’s more to do with their emotions and fears that brings on the hate.

is math really that hard

Why Is Math Hard for Some Students?

EduKitchen posed the question to teachers as to why some students may find Math really hard. Their answers focused on two main categories; teacher influence and student expectations. 

math frustrations

Read on and then let us know whether you agree or disagree with what teachers had to say in the comment section below.

Math Teachers' Influence On Students

Research in education often debates as to how much influence a teacher has on a subject. 

Does the teacher’s style of teaching Math make the student love or hate the subject? 

Does the student’s interest in the subject drive their passion for learning or avoiding the subject altogether?

Teachers and tutors of Math do feel that a teacher’s style of teaching does impact on a students interest in the subject.

improve math communication

If the teacher is unsure, or uncaring as to how to interact with students, but rather focused on presenting the steps to learning as though students need to memorize them in order to learn, students may feel that the learning is square on their shoulders and that they won’t get the mental support they are seeking. 

Student Expectations of Math Teachers

Teachers may often try their best to encourage learning and critical thinking through problem solving, and yet students sometimes still feel that what they are learning in math is a waste of time and will  no way influence what they want to do in life. 

Students of the Internet generation find that answers are ready available through apps like Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa.  

Students who are frustrated may simply ask why such popular apps can’t simply do the work for them. 

Those who are afraid of answering because they either do not understand, or are afraid to make a mistake will often refuse to answer the teacher, and avoid participating altogether. 

improve math vocabulary

Students need to understand that by having such attitudes that they end up missing an opportunity to better their understanding and gain knowledge that they may share with others one day in the future. 

To make learning Math easier we need the right mix of teacher influence and student expectation

How Should Math Teachers Respond to "Is Math Really That Hard?"

As teachers it is our responsibility that we come prepared with the knowledge to present the information to students accurately and with enthusiasm. 

Students are much more perceptive than teachers would like to believe, and so they can see right through a teacher that is unprepared or uncaring. Teachers need to rely on their intuition in recognizing student’s emotions in relation to answering questions.

teachers can reduce math anxiety

When faced with these situations in class, it is important that teachers recognize the reasons behind students’ behavior when they don’t enjoy Math. They should help students see the overall benefit when learning topics in Math. 

They should help students see the overall benefit when learning topics in Math. These are that it helps us to become better problem solvers in life, while providing us with an opportunity to gain academic knowledge, and who wouldn’t see the benefit to both!

How Students Should Respond to "Is Math Really That Hard?"

Students should come to expect that teachers are presenting them with knowledge. They should understand that even though what they may be learning in Math may have no real bearing on their future careers, it is still an opportunity not to be wasted when it comes to learning. 

 It will be a means to make them a better problem solver in the future, which will undoubtably have a huge bearing on their future life!

students can reduce math anxiety

Students also need to be able to ask and answer questions related to Math so that they recognize that what they share may be helping the student who is not ready to show what they know. 

The more comfortable students become with sharing information, the more enjoyable the lessons become and so what may seem hard becomes easy to understand.

The Answer to the Question "Is Math Really That Hard?"

Both teachers and students need to work together and come to understand what one expects from the other. In doing so the question of “Is Math really that hard?” becomes, not if you don’t want it to be!

 After all, only if you want to, will you really learn.

Math Teacher-Student Relationship Guide

Click to download your free educational guide as to how Math teachers and students can work together to build Math confidence.

Related Topics

Final Thoughts...

Learning any subject is tied to many factors besides the knowledge that it presents. Teachers must have the necessary knowledge in the Math lessons they present, but more importantly they must focus on how they present the material. 

Building trust between teachers and students when it comes to sharing knowledge is one way to remove fear and negative emotions we tend to associate with lessons we don’t understand.

Think Tank Scholar

Consider using educational products offered by Think Tank Scholar to help students with improving their Maths or Language skills. Click on the image to review all available and affordable products to add to any classroom!

Share Your Thoughts

Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on this article and whether you agree with what we had to say about Math not really being that hard.

Danya Khelfa
Danya Khelfa

Founder of EduKitchen

2 thoughts on “Is Math Really That Hard?”

  1. I have found that kids don’t like math for a few reasons. 1 I agree, they ask when do we need this. Even with explaining the reasons why it is necessary they don’t care to accept the reasons. That’s because it is challenging. Which brings .e to my second reason. Kids are lazy, more so now than ever before. They don’t have to remember anything or think deeply because everything is readily available on the internet. But in math classes they are forced to brainstorm and use critical thinking differently than in other classes and they don’t like the challenge. Most all students just want the answer. They are so focused on getting an answer rather than a process. And perhaps that is math educators fault, and we should try to focus early on in their math career on the process not the answer! My last point is that because students are unable to identify what they don’t know, and can’t properly study for math and then perform lower than they expect they grow this hate for the subject they do poorly in. If they are more successful perhaps they will enjoy the subject. Or in my case I enjoy problem solving in general, which is why I enjoy math. So maybe if we increase student’s curiosity and desire to solve a problem or question they would be more willing to do so in math too.

    1. Hi Steffanie, thank you for posting your thoughts! I appreciate you taking the time to express this as a comment because it’s very common for both teachers and students to struggle with Maths. I have spent almost 20 years teaching Maths and so I have come across many different attitudes when it comes to Maths in general both from students and teachers. Students main frustration, you’re right, is to see the benefit otherwise they can’t be bothered. I challenge this thought by saying to them if you put nothing in, you get nothing out, then it’s an opportunity lost to at least look at as learning something new. Students don’t mind math if it’s practical – like learning about it as it comes to money, and would like to see more. You are right, we as teachers need to peak their curiosity and it’s always important to keep them involved. The solutions in my post for both teaches and students need patience and enthusiasm for those who struggle with Math to get better, but I believe it starts with a positive mindset and convincing others to believe in their abilities, because I as the teacher chose to believe in their abilities.

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