Who's afraid of math?

PARENTIN TALK - Tintin Bersola-Babao -

When I was in kindergarten, I won a medal: Best in Math.

Then, grade school came, I lost it. What happened to that kindergarten girl who won Best in Math?

Suddenly, numbers and equations intimidated me.

Or I wasn’t too interested with numbers.

Was it the teaching method?

Was it my inherent skill?

And now that I have my own kids, I realized the experience is not an isolated one.

When my daughter was four years old, she wasn’t too interested in numbers. I was afraid of course, that she’d end up like me — once afraid of math, and until now, I cringe everytime I remember how badly I fared in my chemistry, geometry, trigonometry and algebra subjects in high school. “Kaya ako nag Masscomm!”

Then I met Rowena Matti of Galileo Enrichment Learning Program.

Galileo offers free two-week trial lessons for their Math and English programs.

And I grabbed the opportunity.

As soon as my daughter entered the colorful Galileo classroom in its branch along Katipunan, she was excited, particularly with the learning tools that are used to teach Math. It was such a blessing too that the teacher assigned to her, Teacher Arleen was ever so patient, and so good at teaching the fundamentals of Math to my daughter. Her soothing voice and gentle manner of teaching proved to be effective qualities and my daughter looked forward to having Math classes with her.

With Teachers Arleen and Suzette in the background.

The Galileo method doesn’t use jargon that’s difficult for a child to grasp. Teacher Arleen concretizes it by using actual objects. “This is one popcycle stick. I have another popcycle stick. I put them together and I have — one, two sticks.”

Fear of Math. You are not alone. Rowena explains and answers your questions :

“Math anxiety is a common problem for children. Some of them would push away their notebooks at the sight of equations saying, ‘I can’t do it.’ Some would even cringe just by the mere mention of math. “

Math is one of the essential subjects that a child must learn and fear of it slows down progress. How should parents help their children overcome this attitude?

1. Show it.

Math is an abstract concept. There are words for certain concepts — but what are they? What is one? What is volume? What is a square? What is addition? Try to explain the definition to children through words and they will just give you blank stares.

2. Use child-friendly terms.

In relation to the previous number, let go of the terms. Instead of saying “Three minus two,” use words that a child would understand and use in a daily basis. Remember that children are still in the stage of building their vocabulary. Their existing vocabulary will help them learn new words. “You have three stuffed toys in the bag. I take away (or get) two. How many is left in the bag?” Once they have mastered and understood the concept of taking away, then it is fitting to introduce the word subtraction. “Take away has another name. It is called Subtraction.”

3. Relate it to everyday life.

These are the flash cards used for the Singapore math method

Math was created to be used outside the classroom. Let the children realize that without math, we would not be able to survive. Addition, subtraction and multiplication are useful when paying the fare for the public transportation. Shapes are used to identify objects (the pizza is in the shape of a triangle, shoes are in the shape of oblongs, etc.) Algebra is used to magically discover the unknown. Plotting points on the axis is used by ship and airplane captains to navigate their way around the world. Solving the speed of a car will help Dad determine how fast he can get to work in the morning.

4. Practice.

In sports, coaches and trainers require their athletes to keep on repeating drills to perfect their skill. Same goes with math. Answering exercises regularly does wonders for mastery and understanding.

5. Don’t be afraid of math!

If you, parents, show fear and hesitation towards math, it is more likely that your child will feel the same thing. Answer math questions together. If you are not familiar with the topic, make some time to learn it yourself. If your child can learn it in school, you should too!

 Drop the computer games for a moment, use bonding moments with math. Answer a problem together and compare solutions. It will be fun, especially if you all come up with the same answer.

 Math, or any subject, should never be feared.  Every word problem, equation is like a treasure chest. All it takes is the right combination and the right solution to decode and unlock the jewels inside it.

 Note: The Galileo Enrichment Learning Program is a Math and English enrichment program for children, ages three to 12. The program presents and teaches concepts in five different ways, making learning fun and exciting.

 This coming Oct. 8, the Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, in cooperation with EdCrisch International/Marshall Cavendish, will be holding the very first Singapore Math Festival at the AIM Conference Center. This new way of tackling math problems by the Singaporeans has been making waves around the world, including the Philippines. In this age of innovation and development, it is fitting to learn more about this method and how it has been helping the Filipino children.

For details, call the Galileo head office at 845-1234 or 216-5936, or send an e-mail to [email protected].








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