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raahulworld2004's avatar

Why is it that some people are great in maths & some suck?

Asked by raahulworld2004 (17 points ) November 10th, 2009

i really want to know what is it that makes someone brilliant in maths & some people (like me) get a headache when they see a math problem!!

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16 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

I think mostly it’s a matter of interest. If you enjoy doing something, you will be more willing to listen and learn how to do it, and be better at it. But, some people just have a natural tendency towards certain things, and some people have a natural tendency away from certain things. Maybe you like maths but you still find it hard to grasp. That’s unfortunate, but sometimes just how it goes. Maybe you just need to apply yourself a bit more than the person who can grasp it straight away, but you’ll get there eventually. Maybe you learn in a different way to them, they might have a photographic memory and you don’t, it could be any number of reasons.

YARNLADY's avatar

Just like any other talent, Math comes easy to some people, and not others. This is also true of music, art, science and writing, just to name a few. The difference is partly inborn talent, but it also depends on how you are taught. Many people are taught that Math is hard, and they grow up believing it.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Lots of math instruction moves students ahead at too fast of a pace. I got better at math when I had children, and had to help with homework. I had to relearn really basic stuff and as a result, like it a lot more than I did, and feel more confident.

Janka's avatar

Most talent seems to me to be a combination of interest (that either makes effort come easy, or motivates one to do hard work) and innate ability. You can substitute ability with effort, and effort with ability to some extent, though. I think for most people it is not lack of innate ability but lack of interest to put in the effort, partly because of being convinced they do not have the ability.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m just not very good with numbers. Calculators are my friend. I don’t find math very stimulating.

ubersiren's avatar

It took me a really long time to understand that some people, as many have mentioned above, just have the talent for it. I was not one of those kids in school that had that talent and it was so frustrating. All my friends were “math” people. And what’s worse is that those people seem to not know how to explain it to those who need help because it just comes to them naturally. I would find myself asking, “But why?” and the answer was always “That’s just how it’s done.” It wasn’t until I had a really good math teacher in college that I understood how to do even intermediate algebraic equations.

Don’t sweat it, really. If you’re struggling in school, seek out a tutoring program- ask a counselor or teacher about getting extra help after class. You’ll make it through, and that’s all you need. I’m not saying you don’t need math in life, but most of us, honestly, don’t use algebra in our lives and chosen careers. You probably wouldn’t choose a career in which you’d be using it if you’re not good at it. Also, take comfort in the fact that you will know people in your life who are terrible at grammar and spelling, or who can’t carry a tune in a bucket, or something else that you’re really great at.

jrpowell's avatar

I think it is just natural for some people. I had no problem with math in college but every paper I wrote went through the Writing Center at school for proofreading. My spelling and grammar is horrible.

Darwin's avatar

It depends on how your brain is wired. There are differences that can be observed between male and female brains that typically lead men to be better at math and women to be better with language, although there are always exceptions.

In addition, some people are visual learners and so do better with the Montessori methods of teaching math rather than the typical “write it on the blackboard” teaching method. Other people have other learning styles, some of which lend themselves to learning math and others that don’t.

Also, some people think themselves out of being able to do math. “Everyone” says it is hard so students may approach the subject with trepidation and then give up too soon.

All you can do if you fall into one of the “bad at math” groups is the best you can. Get tutoring, form a study group, find some small bit of math that you do understand and build from there, or plot out a career that will minimize the amount of math you will need.

Dr_C's avatar

Rigtht brain vs left brain.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Darwin

some people are visual learners and so do better with the Montessori methods of teaching math rather than the typical “write it on the blackboard” teaching method.

Can you explain what the Montessori method is?

Darwin's avatar

@FutureMemory – In Montessori math is taught by using items to count, sandpaper covered numbers to feel and move about, and other means where you have something to touch, such as an abacus rather than a calculator.

Wherever possible, Montessori instructors find practical applications for the students to participate in. For example, our school needed sand for a new sand box. The kids were the ones that went out and measured the box and figured out what the volume was and hence how much sand was needed.

Here is a discussion of math teaching in Montessori.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I am a visual learner. Most of my math teachers used audible teaching methods, therefore I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about without something for me to look at or touch.

Math is exciting, useful and fun to learn when I know what’s going on with the numbers. I excelled at Geometry and Economics…I failed miserably in Algebra.

gailcalled's avatar

I know twenty synonyms for “suck,” but have terrible problems with spacial issues. I look out my window and can’t figure out in which direction my sister’s house (four miles from here) is. I still get lost when I drive around some of the back roads.

And I can’t reset the date on my digital watch.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Darwin
Thank you for the link. I went to a Montessori school in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and although I don’t remember much about the specific teaching methods that were used, I do remember how wonderful the experience was overall.

mattbrowne's avatar

Some “suck” because they are victims of this very unjustified image of math being uncool. What can be done? Have a look at my recent question

http://www.fluther.com/disc/59012/what-could-be-done-to-make-math-seem-less-uncool/

and the great advice from other Flutherites. Above all, people need to understand math is everywhere in real life. Math can save a lot of money for example by deciding not to play the lottery.

LostInParadise's avatar

In line with what @PandoraBoxx said, here is a really good article that expresses my feeling on the subject. http://www.maa.org/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf It is a bit long, but very readable. I recommend setting aside some time to go through it.

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