4 Principles Of Deeply Effective Math Learning


Goal of math learning

15 October 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We all know how challenging it is to keep students occupied. Math is one way to fire their imagination and keep their young minds busy.

However, this is not happening today considering how math is popularly taught by rote. Children today think that math is all about numbers, equations, complex diagrams, protractors, and graph sheets.

Is that all there is?  

Math experts from Cuemath have listed 4 principles of deeply effective math learning that you can get familiar with to keep your students interested and on track with math.

  1. Understand the goal of math learning
  2. Use the why-behind-the-what approach
  3. Get your math tools right
  4. Help students learn from mistakes

1. Understand the Goal of Math Learning

Math is a life skill and that is how you should look at it. Students should understand how concepts tie into their lives. This helps them relate to the concept and builds interest. The goal of mathematics is to ultimately realize that everything is mathematics.

The learning goal is the backbone of a lesson and provides the “reason” for teaching and observing it.

Let’s say, while learning numbers, a student understands that 10>1. Help them now differentiate between 300 mm of rainfall and 3,000 mm rainfall.

Textbooks rarely focus on understanding; it's mostly solving problems with "plug and chug" formulas. Academic knowledge alone is useless. Applying concepts to life is where the beauty of math lies.

After all, no one learns the piano just to get certified, the goal is to make music for audiences.

understanding math

2. Use the why-behind-the-what approach

Using this approach will benefit your students immensely. Dig deep!

Strive for understanding math rather than memorization of it. Memorizing formulas and tables is all well and good, but it is more important to understand why the answers are what they are. Understanding why a concept works instead of simply memorizing steps is so much easier.

Once students understand the working of a concept, they will never need to remember steps.

Take a look at this video that explains “why” the addition algorithm works.


3. Get Your Math Tools Right

Using tools to help students understand concepts would be helpful not just for them but for you too. You can use these tools to teach math by following the concrete-pictorial-abstract framework.

Use mathematics in daily life. Stay committed. Being good at math takes a lot of practice.

Concrete learning happens when a child touches to internalize the basics of concepts. Once the basics are set and the child can “see” math, introduce pictures to develop pictorial learning and finally move on to abstract concepts of math.

kid studying

4. Help students learn from mistakes

Making mistakes is a sign of active learning. However, it is crucial to find out why the error played out that way. When students learn from mistakes, it helps them internalize concepts and learn better.

Encourage mistakes at all times. Do not put them down. Practice makes a man perfect.

Mental reading is not going to get you anywhere in mathematics, only hands-on practice will! Practice the problems/sums until you get it right.

learning from mistakes



Follow these principles for effective math learning among your students and over time, you would be able to build on these and frame your own principles.

Have a few? Share them with us, we’d love to hear.

Cuemath, a student-friendly mathematics platform, conducts regular Online Live Classes for academics and skill-development, and their Mental Math App, on both iOS and Android, is a one-stop solution for kids to develop multiple skills.

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