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Thread: Why is math such a hated and infamous subject?

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    Default Why is math such a hated and infamous subject?

    There is no doubt that math is one of the most feared subjects at school, and I have always wondered what it is that causes people to feel that way.
    I used to feel the same way myself way back in 2005, when I had started out on trigonometry and had no clue how to handle periodic functions, and I eventually quit that math course;
    but a few years later I started to realize how useful math actually was, and that I found it pretty fun up until that day when I quit, so I decided to give it another try and really make sure that I mastered each topic before moving on, and as a result I now study second year in Engineering Physics & Electrical Engineering.
    To me, this is a sign that everyone can learn mathematics, because I really did feel truly lost for some time back in high school, yet I made a "comeback" and got well past that part.
    But what exactly is it that intimidates people from math?
    I have heard a lot of people say that they feel that math is "pointless" - but in fact, math is the foundation for our entire modern civilisation.
    You need math to be able to build cars, skyscrapers and computers, and fairly advanced math to construct aeroplanes.
    And even if you believe that you will not have any great use for math, it is still an excellent way to practice your logical thinking and your ability to solve problems.

    Personally, I think that the reason why math becomes hard and frustrating for a lot of people is because they didn't take the time to truly grasp some of the fundamentals;
    if you are unsure about things like the order of operations or how to calculate fractions, then all other math will inevitably end up really hard.
    If you haven't mastered Arithmetics, then you will have major problems with Algebra, because Algebra is everything that Arithmetics was, plus some more stuff.
    And similarly, Geometry is highly based on those two courses, and so on.
    So I believe that math is kind of like building a house - you need to make sure to master each course, one at a time, until everything feels as crystal clear as possible.
    And I think that a lot of students don't fully realise the importance of this.

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    Radical Dreamer Cid's Knight Fynn's Avatar
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    Idk, I always liked math. My grades got worse, however, when I had to prioritize and just didn't have enough time to do my math homework anymore. Shocker, I know.

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    Ta-Ra-Raspooteen Cid's Knight Night Fury's Avatar
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    I actually suffer from dyscalculia which makes understanding maths a little harder for me, and I never had a good enough maths teacher who was patient enough with me to help me. Although, when I was about 13 I had a wonderful maths teacher who was engaging and helped me a lot - surprise surprise, that was my best year in maths.

    Now I'm older though, I do find maths problems fun - because I can do them in my own time and in my own way. I especially like fractions, algebra, and trigonometry! But I have to be patient with myself to do it. Maths isn't all bad, I think that a solid teaching method is crucial for it though.


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    Crazy Scot. Cid's Knight Shauna's Avatar
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    Definitely echoing what Night Fury is saying about teaching. Maths is not interesting as a subject to be taught, relatively speaking. Most other subjects can be engaging in a natural way - even the other sciences can be made interesting with more hands on things to do for learning. With maths... you're going to be staring at a bit of paper with numbers on it. There's not going to be any huge amount of talking through problems. So it can be (and probably often is) taught in a very dry, unengaging manner.

    Then on top of that, a lot of maths requires understanding of more basic concepts to be built upon to get a full understanding of more complex concepts. Heck, I personally find that if I understand why I'm doing something in a particular problem, I will be able to do it better. So, if someone is lacking a piece of understanding, they're going to struggle to pick up the next bit and the next bit, leaving them probably not wanting to keep going because they just don't get it. A bit more time and attention would probably help immensely, but that cannot always be guaranteed, unfortunately.

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    Also on the teaching angle, I think the fact that as you get higher in math, the more variety of ways it can be taught start to plague most people, as well. You'll have a teacher one year that tells you to solve equations one way and another teacher the next that will want to you to solve it another way, even sometimes going as far as punishing students if the problem isn't solved the way the teacher prefers, even if the answer is correct.

    Most schools in general have a problem with teaching any subject where the teacher's ego will often get in the way of actually having students learn material. I had a teacher in early elementary school that would literally rip your assignment up if you didn't have your book on the left of your desk, and the piece of paper you were using for work on the right. Now that I think about it this could have been her way of discriminating against left handed people (yes, that is a thing) without saying it so she could pass it off as a different reason. Either way, that's an example of the BS that can happen in ALL types of schools. Everyone's human, no matter if they teach in the ghetto or in the best school in the country.

    Anyway, going back to math now, I also agree with how you have to know more and more math as you get higher in education. If you don't know some material or are just plain bad at one or two aspects of math, you more or less have zero chance at whatever current level you are at which in turn doesn't properly prepare you for the next level.

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    Basic math is important for most people, but basic math is also easy. Advanced mathematics aren't useful for most people in non-technical jobs, and it's probably a bit of a waste of time to force people to learn advanced maths if they don't need it, and especially if they don't have a head for it. They're probably not gonna get a technical job that requires hard maths if they don't feel like it's their sort of stuff.

    I think people who don't understand the maths that are gonna be useful in their everyday life probably have some deeper rooted problems with mathematics that normal math classes aren't going to help them with anyway.
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    I've never been good at math. Never. It's difficult for me to grasp and doesn't make sense to me.

    I'm not stupid. I just don't have the brain for it.

    But I don't just hate it because I'm bad at it. I hate it because our society equates being good at math and sciences as being intelligent. God forbid you're intelligent in other ways. But if you're not good with numbers, you're stupid.
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    Kuldotha Rebirth escobert's Avatar
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    I always disliked math because there's no story to it. It's just crunching numbers. I was always really into English, History and Science. I was good at math I just never really had much interest in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
    I've never been good at math. Never. It's difficult for me to grasp and doesn't make sense to me.

    I'm not stupid. I just don't have the brain for it.

    But I don't just hate it because I'm bad at it. I hate it because our society equates being good at math and sciences as being intelligent. God forbid you're intelligent in other ways. But if you're not good with numbers, you're stupid.
    People who look down on those who find math difficult always have some form of attitude problems.
    Their behaviour is also a sign of poor common sense in a way, because they apparently don't realise that everything would be much better if they could respect and help those who have problems with math instead of insulting them - they would feel good about themselves for being kind, and they would also do someone else a favour.
    In my opinion, it's those kinds of sensible decisions that truly show how intelligent someone is.
    Math is one form of intelligence, but there are tons of other ways to be intelligent - and the ability to care for and understand other people (empathy) is the most important form of intelligence anyone can have.

    Quote Originally Posted by escobert View Post
    I always disliked math because there's no story to it. It's just crunching numbers. I was always really into English, History and Science. I was good at math I just never really had much interest in it.
    Yeah, math is a lot about solving equations and manipulating expressions etc.
    The usefulness of math becomes more obvious in courses like Physics and Electronics, because in those courses you solve a lot of actual real-life problems.
    Last edited by Peter1986; 04-22-2016 at 05:45 PM.

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    I legitimately feel like I am not mathematically inclined. Numbers and calculations do not register to me on a large or complicated scale. Also, I have bad dyslexia when it comes to numbers. I'm not sure why it's limited to numbers, but I can be looking at them, reading them directly, and completely mix them up. It's awful.

    When you're bad at something and you have difficulty understanding it, it makes you like doing it a lot less.

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    Ta-Ra-Raspooteen Cid's Knight Night Fury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
    I legitimately feel like I am not mathematically inclined. Numbers and calculations do not register to me on a large or complicated scale. Also, I have bad dyslexia when it comes to numbers. I'm not sure why it's limited to numbers, but I can be looking at them, reading them directly, and completely mix them up. It's awful.

    When you're bad at something and you have difficulty understanding it, it makes you like doing it a lot less.
    Dyscalculia! It's what I have too!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Fury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
    I legitimately feel like I am not mathematically inclined. Numbers and calculations do not register to me on a large or complicated scale. Also, I have bad dyslexia when it comes to numbers. I'm not sure why it's limited to numbers, but I can be looking at them, reading them directly, and completely mix them up. It's awful.

    When you're bad at something and you have difficulty understanding it, it makes you like doing it a lot less.
    Dyscalculia! It's what I have too!
    I did not know this was a thing!

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    Blood In The Water sharkythesharkdogg's Avatar
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    Math has always been humbling for me, because it is that one subject where it won't simply click for me for quite a long time.

    If feels like there is no progress at all, even after hours and hours, over the course of several weeks, getting after class help and tutoring. Suddenly the lessons will begin to make sense, like a flood, but the pacing of the average math class means that I'm already weeks behind and quickly become hopelessly behind schedule on homework due dates and being prepared for tests.

    Especially in what I consider higher level mathematics, I struggle to remember formulas, processes, and other things that are necessary to break complex problems down and solve them.

    All the numbers and functions seem arbitrary, so even as I'm solving them I can't tell if I'm going in the right direction, or if I'm completely off base in the method I chose to solve the problem.

    It's always been difficult to solve the puzzle when you can't relate what you're seeing in front of you to the tools you're supposed to use to solve it, or how it makes sense. It all just seems arbitrary, which is the exact opposite of what math is. Frustrating.

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    I'm reasonably good at maths. Not scientist-level or anything, but my algebra is pretty solid, and my trigonometry is passable. I solve most everyday arithmetic problems without really thinking about it, the answers (or a very good estimate) are just in my head before i have time to think about what the question was.

    Derivation and integration is where i started to run into problems, but it was probably because of the pace of which the classes moved, than the actual logic behind it.

    I used to live with someone who was very bad at maths. I think she had dyscalculia. She would need to use a calculator to multiply 4 and 3 when adjusting food recipes and things like that. It was really hard for me to understand how hard it was for her, when things that was almost as basic as reading didn't come easy to her. I could tell that it made her life difficult.
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    Lord's Blade Bri's Avatar
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    I'd say it depends on people. My dad loves math and said it favorite subject ( he is a mechanic). He would sometimes write math problems on the wall and my mom would freak out on him about it lol. I honestly hate math, lazy and don't have any patience when it comes to it but I have enough knowledge to help me out. The rest of my siblings all like my dad, they love math and I am the only one that does not. I hope my kids do not follow after me and Bert on the subject of math. I hope they'll all turn out to be mathematicians!


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