Why study Maths?
December 11, 2015
Teachers always have to answer this question and I see many different approaches when trying to encourage students in their endeavours, but really the subject is about eternal truths and the ultimate satisfaction that only Mathematics can provide. Check out these TED pages:
If you are trying to encourage students who are struggling to see the point then I urge you to seek out and highlight all the areas that Maths and its transferable skills are relevant, hidden and engaging. It may even be exciting to you!
1. Maths teaches persistance, accuracy and completeness, as recommended by Sir Francis Drake: "it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same, until it be thoroughly finished that yieldeth the true glory". And in this way it is satisfying and fun.
2. Maths is a language that is universally known and true, whereby wonder can be tested and explained.
3. The world around you is filled with Maths - it is integral to life whether we are conscious of it or not: nature is described by it and uses it in its path to progress; it is in art, literature, poetry, music, love; professions the world over use it to model their world and allow for improved powers of prediction and sometimes even certainty; it helps quantify, explain and develop innovation.
4. Maths helps develop a well exercised mind, that is happy to handle 'failure' as an important step in discovery, that provides a set of tools, procedures and skills that can help solve problems and develops discipline in thought and clarity of presentation.
5. Maths improves our powers of argument and proof, it involves logic and gives us a language to communicate definitively.
6. Maths can be used to challenge, to bamboozle, to question, to amaze, to shock, even to amuse.
You just have to be willing to work at it, embrace it and hopefully master it.
Resources others found helpful
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Some tips for tutors and parents about how to teach and tackle reasoning for the 11+ exam and similar levels.