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Are students' interests in studying math increasing?

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We all have experience with math. Everyone studies it in high school and college in some form, depending on what focus you have chosen. And even though there are students who say they hate math and choose a subject from a different domain, there is a high chance that math will be intertwined deeply with that domain too.

A simple example would be in the arena of humanistic domain in psychology. Psychology is about the study of the mind, so it might seem there is no room for math. However, to understand the studies and research that have been done on psychology-related topics, or if you want to do your own research, you need to know statistics. Which is math in another form.

The same goes for music where math is also present and actually boosts the domain's value. For a song to become an earworm, it needs to catch the attention of the people and math can help musicians do this.

So, while everyone knows someone who simply hates math, is that really an accurate reflection of society as a whole? Could there be more and more students who are actually interested in studying math? Let’s find out.

A love-hate relationship with math

As established, there are many students who admit they hate math. This is a general statement and something you will hear in every class. Sometimes you will even hear a student who says that their hate for math is stronger than their love for any other subject. However, while it may seem this sentiment is everywhere, the latest research might just show that things have changed. Perhaps one reason would be due to the global pandemic that forced many schools to shift to online learning.

Now students are eager to return to school again, meet their colleagues and professors, and start studying. And even math is among the topics they want to study more about.

Studying math in college is the next level. There are many math and algebra assignments you get that help you understand more specific algebraic formulas. And there are high school math problems with answers that students have access to that can help them study better. Many researchers want to find out more about this love-hate relationship some students have with math and so conduct regular surveys. According to these surveys, it seems that there are twice as many students who love math than those who hate it. On top of this, there is a considerable percentage who say that they are indifferent to math. Additionally, many students say that they might start loving math concepts if they understand the benefits of doing so.

Understanding this, as a math teacher or educator, you might ask yourself how you can nurture math love in your students. It is a challenging thing to do, but fostering genuine interest in math in your class can turn out to be a rewarding task. And there are a few activities you can put into practice that will help.

Math and real life

One of the things that keeps many students away from math is the fact that they do not see how complex math concepts apply to real-life situations. This is a challenge that not only faces the math arena, but many other complex topics as well.

Students often do not see the benefit of learning about matrices, derivatives, and so on. So for them to start loving math, you need to show how these concepts apply to real-life situations. This is one of the first things you need to do. Start raising awareness about the importance of learning complex math concepts that will be useful later in life and highlight the benefits as often as you can.

Learning math can be fun

Another key teaching tip is understanding that it's not only about math and the concepts students need to learn,  but about the teacher too. How you decide to teach students about math has an essential effect on their relationship with this topic. Some students can understand complex problems easier, while others need more time. It is important to make this process fun and interesting. Find games you can play with the students, games that aim to help them understand specific concepts and formulas. Learning math can be fun and you need to show this to your students.

Adapting to students’ interests

As we all know, the world is changing at a rapid pace. The interests of students are changing and new jobs appear on the market constantly. It is understandable that many students do not see the value and benefits of math or science when they live in a highly technologized world that can often find solutions for them. Moreover, as mentioned, too often learning math does not have any connection with their interests, so why would they do it?

As a teacher, you need to keep up the pace with all these advancements. At the same time, being connected with your students and understanding what their interests are can help you tremendously. The more you can link the classes with their interests, or share examples relevant to students that allow them to understand the importance of math, the better.

Ending note

Math is a subject that divides people into two large groups: those who love it and those who hate it. If we want to move beyond that, it is important to note that those who hate math have something in common: They do not see how complex math concepts can help them later in life, so they dismiss them from their learning experience.

Math is deeply intertwined with all domains and many students are simply not aware of this. As a teacher, you can foster and nurture the love for math. Show your students that learning math can be fun and that it can be applied to real-life situations.

Judy Nelson is a content writer and blogger. She is passionate about technology, science, and math. Judy encourages many students to learn math to develop their critical thinking and logical reasoning.

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