The relationship between math and cognitive development
Like many subjects learnt in school, math is expected to have a positive impact on a student’s personal development. Middle school prepares students for life in college and beyond. Lessons learnt in class have a great impact on how the student will be able to handle the challenges he or she will face later in life. Math may seem to be a problem-solving subject, but the intricate details help a student develop life skills which will be beneficial later in life. What is the relationship between math and personal development?
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This article by Mari-James Williams elaborates the impact math has on a child’s development. It emphasizes life skills gained by a student of math. These skills shape a student’s personality and way of life.
Life skills students of math should have by the time they graduate from high school
“Everyone graduates from high school knowing how to read, write and do basic math (hopefully). But to be a self-sufficient adult, those skills are not enough. In fact, they’re nowhere close to enough. Advanced skills in academic areas aren’t going to help a young adult out of every jam he is likely to face in the next few years.” Read more
Math students should be able to relate what they learn in class with encounters they will have in life. Some of these things can be anticipated and preparation is necessary. For example, knowing how to budget one’s money is vital. When a teacher or parent helps a student to understand math concepts by relating theory and life experiences, a student will be better informed and prepared for life after middle school. In this article, Tim Parker discusses some of the vital life skills a student acquires from learning math.
Indirect life skills gained from math that shape a student’s mental development
“Performance on standardized tests full of abstract math may be a good indicator of the higher-level thinking skills of our children, but these tests do little to prepare a child for the math he or she will need as an adult. One study by the Federal Reserve found that people who filed for bankruptcy had an average of one and a half times more debt than their income.” Read more
Students in middle school learn about investment. They learn the relationship between principal and interest. To them, this is just a lesson. However, this lesson, if well understood, will be used when they are dealing with insurance and other investments. Students who get real-life examples as they learn math will be able to relate what they learn in class with real-life situations. There is also the mental training given by math. When out shopping, often, one does not need a pen and paper to determine how much money one is likely to spend when he or she gets to the till. Calculating profit and loss is another vital skill that will come in handy later when one is trying to figure out if a risk he or she is considering taking will be worth it or not.
In this article, Laura Overdeck goes into detail on the role parents and teachers play in the perception children develop towards math. This perception either hinders or manifests itself in the skills learnt by the students during math lessons.
Practical ways in which math can be taught with the aim being cognitive development
“As America bemoans its woeful performance in math, we should remind ourselves why we want our kids to do well in math in the first place. Sure, we need the inventive geniuses who make our society better: someone’s got to cure cancer, and build a better iPhone antenna, and develop cheap renewable energy to spare our planet. But innovation is just part of the equation.” Read more here
Questions have been raised on the quality of math being taught in schools today. Should the content be changed to suit the demands in society today? Should students be exposed to real life scenarios as they attempt to solve math problems? This will prepare them for scenarios which will demand analysis. Otherwise, they will get too excited by huge figures without analyzing how practical those figures are. Many people fall prey to con artists who offer them deals which are too good to be true because they ignored the obvious. If the victims made attempts to understand the offers, many would have known right away that there was some thing wrong. By allowing the students to think critically of the problems presented to them, they will not make decisions based on the face value, but instead focus on the facts.
Raising a generation of children who love, enjoy and can conceptualize math based on real life is investing in future generations of children who will appreciate the value of math. How today’s society perceives math is very telling of what future generations will think of it. Placing a high value to this particular subject and the lessons derived from it will help students grow to be effective managers and even better parents as they will help instill the value of math in their children.