Maths Fear - A Real Problem

Did you know Irish adults were among the lowest performing at maths in an international study in 2012? How can we stop this fear of maths from spreading from one generation to the next?

Many pupils come to Emerald Education centre for help with maths. I often hear parents say that they can't help them because they are 'no good at maths' themselves. This fear of maths can often be found to go back generations - a parent says they were 'no good at maths at school', and their parents were not interested in maths either. We would not be so quick to let it be known that we are not so hot at reading or writing, so why do it for maths? It is no surprise then, that this 'maths fear' is passed on to the next generation. How can we change this for the better?

Keep Positive

If your child finds maths difficult, don't reaffirm this negative image of maths by telling them that you were no good at maths too. If they were caught lying, you wouldn't condone that by saying, "That's ok, being honest was not my thing either," would you? Try to see the everyday importance of maths and the huge part it plays in life skills. Would you be able to have a rough idea of how much you are spending when popping things in the trolley as you go round the supermarket? How about calculating the best mobile phone deal? Or looking at car finance and insurance? The dwindling use of basic skills is eroding ability to manage money effectively and causing many people to fall into debt. Not something we want for our future generations.

Brush up

How quick are you at mental arithmetic? Even if you don't think you use algebra in your everyday life, you'd be surprised at how much it actually rears its head.

For example, let's imagine you have to buy two dozen eggs priced at 10c, three loaves of bread (each loaf of bread is 5c), and five bottles of juice (each bottle is 8c). Apart from the fact that this shop is excellent value for money and the shelves would probably be empty by the time you arrived, how much money you will need to take to pay for this little lot? That's algebra in daily life:

We use algebra to solve the problem easily and quickly.

The prices are

a = Price of two dozen eggs = 10c

b = Price of one loaf of bread = 5c

c = Price of one bottle of juice= 8c

=> Money needed = a + 3b + 5c

=> Money needed = 10 + (3 lots of 5) + (5 lots of 8) = 10 + 15 + 40 = 65 cent altogether. easy!!!

Finding x is not just for pirates!

This type of question is usually enough to send many grown adults into a panic and run screaming from the room. But, if you think logically, this is exactly how we calculate the screen size of that new fab HD TV we have our eye on in the sale. How do we know it is bigger that the one at home? We use Pythagoras theorem.

(4 squared) + (3 squared) = x squared

16 + 9 = 25

5 squared is 25

so x =5

Maybe this TV is not as big as the one at home after all...

You can do it!

If you would like to improve either your own maths skills, or you are looking for help for your child, we can help. We offer one-to-one classes or small groups during the day for adults who feel that 'Maths just wasn't my thing' but really want to help their children. Remember, your child learns from your example. Let them see that maths has a meaning beyond the letters and the numbers.

Call Elaine Lingard on 083 8550210 and we can help take the mystery (or misery) out of maths.

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Bundoran Retail Park, Station Rd, Bundoran, Co. Donegal


CRO 575542

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