Yeah…I’ll admit governments are far to incompetent to implement a grand conspiracy like such…but you still must find this disgusting:

Math seems to be one of those things that most people do not look back on fondly. It was difficult, they didn’t understand it, and they don’t know anything about it now. There must be a better way to teach it.

I think the reason math is taught badly is that people who teach math assume that it is somehow objective truth. 2+2=4, and always will, without looking into the philosophical assumption underlying count-ability IE discrete objects.

I was good at math in HS, but not crazy about it, only because I was a dutiful and diligent student by nature. I did not question. Now I still like math and I believe I have a talent for it but I am too old to make anything of it. But I now see math much more as a contingent on subjective assumption and not an unassailable truth.

I tend to think, that certain people are good at certain sides/forms of abstract thinking, while being bad at other. So, math is one of those forms.

I’m glad to have caught your attention and I agree with all of you! particularly with this sentence : “there must be another way to teach it”. No teacher explain that mathematics is applied in many fields! For example is the mathematician who, with complex sistem of differential equation, predicts it will be sunny or rainy! no one at school told me that with mathematics, especially with prime numbers, the whole system is set!That the security of our data, codes of bank cards are safe thanks to the prime numbers! I could give many examples but I will stop! I just think that a math teacher could make his lesson more interesting and capture student’s attention explaining that the kicks and punches in a video games are obtained thanks to the geometry and algebra!

I used to like mathematics until I had come across Calculus in my 11 grade. I had never been the same student since then. LOL

Some people have a knack for understanding technical stuff with ease and some people are good at memorization. The latter is probably the main reason that the majority of girls go to other fields such as medicine, pharmacy, arts etc in my country. As for solving mathematical problems, understanding is not enough by itself, you need to practice a lot and sometimes solving each problem many times so that you can solve it correctly under exam conditions.

Many people don’t like to think. Mathematic involves logic and no everbody want to use it.

(sorry for my mistakes)

Many teachers have difficulty teaching math because they have never been out of school. Their entire life has been spent in school either as a student or teacher never experiencing anything outside of academia. This is why they can’t answer the question “When or how will I ever use this?”

Teachers should be periodically required to work at some organization using the skills that they teach to help them teach their students more effectively. For instance, in order to keep their certification one summer every five years a math teacher would be required to work with engineers performing analysis on a project.

Also, at least in the USA, there is a common belief among teachers that because they have the skills to teach that they can teach anything. They forget that subject knowledge is very important and instead of studying to be a mathematician and then learning to teach, they go to school to become a teacher and then take some math courses.

My comments are specific to the USA K-12 schools and are generalizations. I know there are exceptions and most teachers truly care and want to help their students.

crazycati, mhogan, I completely agree with you. I didn’t understand at school for what I can use math.

But one day, when I served in the Russian Army, I decided to change my life. I was really into computer games and I dreamt to become a game developer. I started to search programming languages and organization of computers. And I realized that software engineering process involves a lot of math, basically logic and algebra. I went to the University and started to study Applied Mathematics. I never thought that math can be so interesting. There are a lot of applications for it. We studied mathematical modeling, game theory, logic, operations research, optimization theory, numerical methods, cryptography, neural networks, fuzzy logic and so on.

May be sometimes teachers will understand that their job is not to simply give an information but to expand the boundaries of mind, to open new possibilities that kids cannot get from their families.

And yes, my dream came true. Now I am a software engineer and I make beautiful computer games. Everything is possible

I know I’m replying late but this topic touched a nerve. I wasn’t particular bad at math but I’ve always found it hard and un-enjoyable and dry. I thought that people disliking math was a universal truth until I went to university and met my colleagues “nerds”. I saw how they spoke about math with passion and I was baffled. This actually made me depressed because I do like science and scientific things but not being able to enjoy and understand math was a big obstacle and I thought I was stupid. I do understand that match is important and it is involved in every aspect of our lives (sort of) but I was never ,and still, not able to enjoy or see it as “beautiful”.

I’ll try to put my reasons:

1- Math is un-relatable (specially the abstract one) :

Ok, I know I said math is in every aspect of our lives, but not all math is the same. Math is mostly is used as a tool and it’s very useful for that (to calculate financial stuff, areas, etc…)

But let me ask you this, do you think mathematicians came up with these formulas and equations to solve this particular type of problems? Some of them might have, but most of them solve math for the sake of math. They see it as a puzzle they have to solve and later they might find practical application for it. This is what I mean by it not being relatable to everyday life. Will I spend months or years trying to solve a puzzle that I don’t even know what will I use it for? Most people will answer no (I think)

To summarize this point, when Math is used as a tool it’s very useful and good and can be understood. But when used in it’s abstract form , a lot of people don’t see what’s the point of it.

2- Math doesn’t answer big questions about life.

Tightly related to my first point, Math is a tool to figure out bigger questions, and what are bigger questions than all sciences are trying to answer ; why are we here? How did we get here? etc. Now this is difference between theoretical physics and theoretical Math. Physics answers are directly related to our existence and everything around us, while Match answers are just…in our heads.

3- It’s full of symbols thus making it unreadable. It’s like reading a foreign language that you have no clue what the symbols mean. And there is no easily accessible guide to translate these symbols.

4- Mathematics lack the big picture? I always like have this response (mostly internally) when someone explains to me a match concept or equation, and the response is “so what?” or “ok…and?” , for example 2 parallel lines will never meet…ok and then? How is that useful? I know it’s useful somehow but I don’t see it now or it’s not clear, and that’s the problem!

This is my personal opinion, please let me know If I made sense

“I do understand that match is important and it is involved in every aspect of our lives (sort of) but I was never ,and still, not able to enjoy or see it as ‘beautiful’.”

I think that mathematics presupposes a few definitions and assumptions. Some people enjoy developing mathematical ideas by sticking to them. There is no accounting for tastes. What one likes, one will do well.