Teaching primary maths the right way

Does maths really matter? My son hates math, which is a huge shame as he is actually really good at it. He hasn’t always hated maths, in fact he used to enjoy it – so what changed? Well, he got a new primary maths teacher and his learning suffered. I’m not usually one to blame the teacher, but I am afraid to say in this case the teaching methods were below average standards.

I certainly remember my primary maths classes from school. I was bored by the traditional “chalk and talk” approach where the teacher would stand up in the front of the class and talk at students for a prolonged period of time before writing something on the chalkboard and getting everyone to memorise it. This went on for all the key concepts such as addition for primary children, fractions for primary children and decimals for primary children. Our eyes drooped with boredom and we couldn’t wait to go home. Unfortunately this is exactly what son experienced to turn him off maths.

Luckily, I have now managed to find him a place in a maths tutoring class outside of school hours where he gets a proper deep understanding of maths concepts through a range of hands on and online maths activities. I have also found various valuable maths tutoring resources online that he can use on his iPad and when we are in the car. These resources have shown him that maths is more than rote learning and if taught properly is a way to develop the capacity to devise solutions to any complex problem, not purely maths problem solving. Indeed, education should be teaching our kids about innovation and producing young adults that can shape the future in positive, inventive ways not merely accepting everything that is offered to them.

So to answer my question, yes I believe maths matters. My son is enjoying maths again and his future career options are much broader because of it. But more importantly, he is optimising his brain to be more adaptable to solving whatever problems might arise in his life.