Why Do So Many People Have Difficulty With Math?

I remember sitting in a pre-algebra class in 7th grade, and being confused. I say a pre-algebra class, because I had to take it twice. With most of the equations and operations, I understood the process, but there were times when I didn’t understand the words used in the instructions. It was like it was a foreign language.

Math Vocabulary

There are so many math words that are regularly used in the adult world. We forget that these words are not regularly used by children unless they’re solving math problems.

For example:

-operation
-multiply
-product
-equivalent
-sum
-difference
-array
-factor
-expression
-numerator
-denominator

are all words that I was regularly confused about. There are many more math vocabulary words but these are the basic, most frequently seen words. Often, I had to look up the meaning before proceeding with homework. Homework that was mostly about numbers.

Problem < Solution

Help define the vocabulary in the instructions. Create a key that can be accessed easily and used regularly. Practice breaking down story problems. What are you really trying to solve? Repetition is key in remembering what words mean, just like repetition helps us to remember steps to solving equations.

And here we see how language is valuable in another different area of study. In order to solve problems, we need to know what words mean, what we’re talking about, and what we would like to do.

Math is valuable. Reading is more valuable.

For those of you that must, math on!

For everyone, read on!

-Dave

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