girl doing maths
Parenting

How Can You Help Your Girl Develop Confidence in Her Math Skills?

I can’t! This is too hard! I hate math! Don’t try to explain this to me, this is too boring! Does any of this ring a bell?

Have you ever heard the saying “confidence is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets?” So, why are our girls losing confidence in their arithmetic ability as they go through school, and is there anything we can do to assist them believe in their math gifts and help them love math?

An Unexpected Revelation

This day started as usual. I was sitting at my desk, sipping my coffee and perfecting my spreadsheet with budget categories for my project at work. My 9 year old was getting ready for school. She climbed on my lap as she still likes to do occasionally, looked for a moment at the graphs on my monitor and then said, You know, M is better at math than I am. He knows calculus already.
I almost spit my coffee all over my keyboard. My first reaction was to argue with facts. I was helping during math time in her classroom for several years, and this year I have one hour of Math Olympiad pullout with fourth grade students who are gifted or high achieving in math. Both Smarty and her best friend M are part of this group, and I know objectively that Smarty is more advanced in math. But… I checked this immediate response. Why?

Let’s Stop Comparison Game!

I could have provided all the supporting evidence to my daughter “proving” to her that she is better at math than M. But… I would have just poured more oil onto her competitive desire to compare herself with others. For better or for worse, our school system is built on competition and comparison. Not only kids get grades that “sort” them into “buckets”, they also show off to each other and boys are often better talkers when it comes to this kind of “show off” contests in math. For example, M loves to read math non-fiction books, such as How to Be a Math Genius? and then weaves math terms into conversations trying (successfully, I might say) to impress Smarty and other classmates. So I decided to take a very different response to her statement.

Focus on Personal Journey in Math

What I told my daughter is that it really does not matter whether M is better at math or she is. There is always going to be someone somewhere who is better, but it’s not the point. What matters is that she is better today than she was yesterday, and that tomorrow she can be even better. I reminded her of a quote from one of her favorite book characters, Professor Dumbledore, It’s not our abilities that define who we are, it’s our choices. And I commented that her current choices would lead her to true understanding of calculus and other complex math concepts when she has a firm foundation to master them. I do not make her practice math nowadays, since she willingly spends 20-30 minutes a day on her favorite math sites. She has a formidable aptitude for math, and I want to hope that her personal journey in math will be long, joyful, and rewarding.

How to improve the relationship between girls and Maths in the classroom?

Girls seemed to be more receptive to learning to better themselves as long as it was not clear to others that they required assistance. They preferred to play the “keep the instructor pleased” game over the males, who were primarily competitive within their own groups. According to experts, the simple notion that one belongs to a group that is not proficient at a subject has been related to worse academic achievement. When girls grow aware of male supremacy in arithmetic via both subtle and overt cultural messaging, each contact with math and technology becomes more difficult, causing self-doubt in even the most studious young females.

Encourage questions and create room for wonder. Sixty-six percent of respondents stated their greatest piece of advise for children wishing to do well in math is to pay attention in class and ask for clarification when they need it. ‘Performance-oriented’ classroom settings, which include instructional strategies such as pointing out ability disparities, displaying top students’ work as exemplars, and emphasising competition, have been reported to reduce arithmetic engagement and pleasure.

Whatever the cause for any typical gender disparities in arithmetic, it is crucial to remember that each kid is unique, and there is a wide range of math performance within each gender. Averages don’t tell you anything about a specific kid. Furthermore, it is critical to concentrate on building children’s arithmetic engagement and enthusiasm, since this is what contributes to math success.

Read also: 11 Parenting Tips To Support Your Child’s Learning At Home

How do you overcome math anxiety in girls?

To lessen arithmetic anxiety, you should work on your Math course every day, even if it is just for a half-hour. You must avoid completing all of your Math homework and studying on just one or two days each week. Set aside excellent study time during the week and stick to it. People who excel at mathematics are not generally born with it. Learning arithmetic, like learning everything else, needs educated instructors, eager pupils, and, most importantly, a significant amount of time and practise. Learning arithmetic is similar to learning a language.

One of the most crucial things you can do is just have a cheerful mindset. Negative self-talk should be avoided. Set high standards for yourself and rise to the moment. Deep breathing and meditation techniques that help you relax in any stressful circumstance will also help you cope with the worry and tension that kids with math anxiety experience. Make math enjoyable and fun. Math games for kids should be used by teachers to increase student engagement. Furthermore, they may make arithmetic enjoyable and inspire pupils to improve their abilities and fact fluency. Make sure you know your Math from previous grades. Math reinforces itself. You may need to re-learn certain stuff. Never forget that it is never too late!

Even with arithmetic, practise makes perfect. If you are having difficulty with a certain kind of issue, you may improve by working on other difficulties. You may begin with simpler issues of the same sort and progress in complexity as you gain confidence in solving them. One of the most significant aspects of math is that it may help you build your self-confidence and trust in your own brain strength. Your whole perspective will shift if you can approach obstacles with a fresh feeling of joy and empowerment. You are up to any task that life throws at you!

Concentrate on grasping fundamental principles. Each notion in mathematics builds on the one before it. In order to prepare for the next session, it is vital to have a full understanding of prior topics. However, if you are familiar with basic mathematical ideas, you will be well prepared for the next sessions. Always question your instructor about any concerns you have about any subject, and they will happily respond. Being intelligent does not imply that you must comprehend everything from the ground up. If you have a query, ask for an explanation.

AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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