It should be. But the reality is that in many cases there are shortcomings. Studies indicate that students’ performance actually declines as they progress through the years. Schools and teachers do the best job they can, but some aspects just can’t be addressed without changes to the entire educational setup. This is especially true for Math compared to other subjects. After all, Math is not just a subject. It is a life skill. It cannot be taught like any other subject.
What does the research say?
Children learn math at school from age 4, and at least up to age 16. This should be enough to equip them well. Yet, study after study finds that students are lagging in their math proficiency. In fact, most studies point to a declining trend. Students start off doing well in grades 1 and 2 but by the time they reach grade 7 and 8, their performance drops. So what’s going on?
Schools on their part are doing the best job possible. Some schools do this better than others. You have teachers who really put in a lot of effort to help children perform. Yet, the situation remains unchanged. There’s enough evidence now to indicate that it is neither the schools, not teachers and definitely not the students who are to blame. The problem is with the teaching approach that teachers are forced to follow. Something we call the Blackboard Method.
What’s the Blackboard Method?
- Broadcasting lectures, or presentations, or videos to a student audience of 30, is simply ineffective. Students become passive.
- They are listening to something at a pace which doesn’t always match their learning pace.
- At the same time, large classes mean there is no time for one-to-one interactions and explanations.
This is what we call the Blackboard Method. No wonder students either struggle to keep up or simply get bored.
Math is not just a subject. It cannot be taught like one
Of all subjects, this has the most detrimental effect on Math. Math is not just a subject. Unlike history or geography where the focus is largely on gathering knowledge, math is conceptual. Furthermore, it’s a life skill. You want children to apply their math knowledge in every day. You want them to figure out the optimum solution in a given situation. Mathematical thinking will help them out.
Math is heavily interconnected
Making things further challenging, math is interconnected. Every topic has a dependency on some other topic that may have been taught years earlier. For example,
- the concept of decimals requires a strong understanding of fractions.
- integers require a strong foundation in whole numbers.
- algebra depends on integers and rational numbers.
And the list goes on…
So learning gaps built at an early age may manifest themselves years later when learning an advanced concept.
A better way to learn Math
The sole reason for us starting a program like Cuemath was to bring all the evidence-based and research-based practices into math learning. Helping children learn math the right way. Not the Blackboard Method but the Cuemath Method.
The Cuemath Method – consistently delivering learning outcomes
Learning through the Cuemath Method right from an early age is important.
- Math must be learned by reasoning, doing and discovering.
- The teacher needs to be a coach and mentor helping students out but not giving the answers away.
- Children must not feel like they are being judged if they make a mistake.
That’s what the Cuemath Method ensures.
Furthermore, at Cuemath we understand each child and build a personalized learning plan –
- If the student is well ahead of grade, they’ll move quickly through the topics, do advanced problems and move to the next grade!
- If we sense that a student has learning gaps from some previous topics, we first work on those and then proceed. This is what allows us to consistently deliver learning outcomes.
Math won’t ever feel like work!
As we bring all of these elements together in a Cuemath class, the result is that children just love coming to Cuemath. Children do not feel any pressure, nor feel judged. As they get better at Math, they also see a boost in confidence and build a healthy attitude towards Math.
Thus, in summary:
→ The Blackboard Method is not effective for a life skill like Math.
→ All math concepts are interconnected. At times even if students score well, there could be learning gaps that may show up years later.
→ A more personalized learning experience is necessary. Children must learn by reasoning, doing and discovering. That’s what the Cuemath Method ensures.
→ Children love coming to Cuemath classes. There’s no pressure felt. Cuemath not only builds concepts but also boosts confidence and imbibes a healthy attitude towards math.
If you are sure that your child goes to one of this 1 % of schools that may be employing all these research-backed methodologies, then the school is enough and you don’t need anything extra. However, if you feel that these elements are missing from your child’s school, then additional support will be needed. Math is just too important.