NC – According to recent data, only half of Ontario Grade 6 kids like mathematics.
The 2013/2014 EQAO survey of Ontario students shows a decline in positive attitudes towards math over the last few years. Since achievement data shows a similar decline, it is clear that confidence influences how well kids are doing.
So what can parents do to help their child develop and sustain a positive attitude in math? We asked Chad Richard, a teaching and learning consultant with the Durham Catholic District School Board. Richard is also a tutor with TVO’s Homework Help, a free online math tutoring service for Grades 7 to 10. Here are his tips:
- Lead by example: “At parent nights I’m often asked, ‘How do I get my kid to like math?’,” says Richard. “I’ll tell them we are going to do a math question right now, and all the parents groan. And I’ll say, ‘There you go, you just proved my point. You don’t even like math. Why should your kid?’” Parents need to be aware of their attitude toward math and its impact on their child.
- Develop a growth mindset: The first time you got on a bike, you probably fell. The first time you played basketball, you likely didn’t get the ball in the net. Why, then, the first time you try to find the area of a rectangle, would you give up? Change your mindset and teach yourself and your kids that success is based on how hard you work and how well you persevere. This is a skill that translates beyond math class and into the real world.
- Don’t make excuses: “It’s kind of weird,” says Richard. “We make excuses for math that we don’t seem to do with anything else. Parents have no qualms saying, ‘Don’t worry, son. I was never good at math; that’s probably why you’re not good at it either.’ You don’t do that with reading though. You would never say to your child, ‘It’s okay, I don’t know how to read either,’ yet we do that with math.” Be excited about math because your kids will take on that attitude.