It is fair to say that Mathematics is not a very popular subject. Many students stay away from this subject in their final years of secondary school. The proportion of students studying advanced mathematics at universities has fallen immensely. Teaching strategies need to be reviewed and a fun approach needs to be implemented. The beauty of mathematics needs to be shown to allow students to enjoy this wonderful and fascinating subject.
Students in their primary schooling years need to be introduced to this subject in a fun manner and more of a game approach. Once we have instilled the enthusiasm to learn and play the games of mathematics, naturally the love of learning this subject will grow with the child. Hence, it is really important for teachers, at this early stage, to find ways either through puzzles, computer packages or quizzes to engage children in mathematics.
Unqualified maths teachers sometimes are teaching secondary school students, without any knowledge of the applications of mathematics. Students from the ages of twelve to eighteen need to be introduced to the beauty of mathematics rather than just be given facts and formulas which can be forgotten immediately. Many teachers of mathematics have insufficient maths training to be able to go deeply into theorems and proofs.
Students need to be shown where mathematics can lead to. They need to see how mathematics is used in our day to day life. Studying percentages, algebra, Pythagoras’ Theorem, factorisation of polynomials, sketching of linear graphs, etc, etc are useless if students do not know how all this is applied to real life. We need enthusiastic and qualified maths teachers to teach this special subject.
Once the student has the right attitude for this subject, is consistent with homework and has the ability to ask for help whenever faced with a difficult problem, then he or she will succeed in this great subject.
After all, as one of my students mentioned some months ago, “Mathematics is just a game. If you know all the rules you will win!”