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What does math stand for?

There are A LOT of phrases for the word "math" out there. Most of which are negative. Below are a few:

  • Mental Abuse To Humans

  • Meaningless And Too Hard

  • Misery And Tiring Hatred

  • Mandatory Angering Torturous Hell

None of these phrases come close to describing mathematics, and if you have these negative feelings towards math, then you and probably like most people have been approaching math all the wrong way.

Math is not about finding the single approach to deriving the correct answer. That is actually completely backwards of how you should be thinking. Trust me, I used to think like you, and I didn't even like math until later in life. It wasn't until my mid 30's when I realized that I was approaching math and my teaching methods were all backwards.

I was only focused on following a certain formula when given certain information. That approach may get you through the class, but with a lot of extra stress, need for memorizing, and absolutely no fun or chance of discovering your own solutions.

That phrase is key, "discovering your own solutions." I'm sure we have all heard of it, but have we really utilized it's meaning. To be able to do this, you must stop putting so much emphasis on formulas, known values, and the step-by-step processes that we have been blinded by for years.

Math is a skill you learn, like learning to swim, riding a bike, reading a book, or painting a canvas. It is fueled by your intuition and driven by your creativity. Chances are you are not going to perfect those skills on the first try, so why give up on math when you have mastered so many other great skills?

Just like when you need someone to hold onto the back of your bike when you take your first ride without training wheels. Or the use of floaties to help you first learn how to swim. Next, your taking your first strokes and kicks by yourself to your parent screaming with joy! Or you get your first paint set and you just let your imagination go wild. Then you learn to paint by number.

Notice something in common?

You either had someone or something helping you master these skills. Math should not be done alone. In fact, when I just simply give a problem to my students, I never show them how to do it, because that won't unlock any creative thinking. If someone gets stuck, I will ask them a question that will lead them to think differently, and I keep the questions rolling until something gets unlocked. Then we share answers, and that is when the really amazing part happens!

I always think that I know "all" the multiple methods for solving a specific problem, but I should know that is not possible. Then my students share their answer, but it's not the correct answer I'm so thrilled with, it's their explanation of how they found their solution. Every time my students teach me something new!

I am amazed and I love that I learn a new strategy for a problem. They open my eyes to something that I would have never thought of. I firmly believe that when the student is given a chance to try to figure out a problem really on their own, not meaning ever without assistance, but definitely no one showing them how to do it one particular way, they can discover their own solutions.

All it takes is your ability to accept this fact.

Remember math's true meaning: Mastering Artistic Thinking Habits

Be the master of your artistic thinking habits.

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