## 16 May The art of Mathematics

Mathematics is the most commonly problematic subject for students. A lot of people resignedly accept defeat and barely expect to perform better than average. The few people that do excel in the subject immediately get labelled as nerds. On closer examination however, there is consistency in the attitudes and approaches of the people that seem unfazed by the subject. This clearly indicates what most people are reluctant to accept; that Maths is indeed an art. Like any art, its mastering requires minimum intellect and abundant commitment.

The very first hurdle to better performance is most probably attitude. People see numbers and complex looking expressions and immediately associate the subject with difficulty. This automatically frustrates the brain and lowers both retention and attention. By the time the person attempts to grasp concepts, the brain is already in no state to learn. Another hurdle is poor concepts foundation. Maths as a subject is a cumulative process. New knowledge should build on what the person already knows hence consolidating knowledge to create a deeper understanding of the subject. Failing in mathematics therefore becomes like a chain reaction. Once you miss one fundamental concept, any additional information might as well be gibberish. This is where maths tutoring can be very helpful in improving performance. Any good tutor should be able to identify where the student lacks basic concepts understanding. Once the student understand the basic concepts, consolidating new knowledge becomes easy.

One clearindication that mathematics can be mastered regardless of intellectual levels are cases of people who excel ONLY in mathematics. Closer examination will reveal that the only anomaly in such occurrences is a heightened interest in the subject which culminates into deeper understanding. The art of mathematics for students is therefore pretty simply a positive attitude towards the subject. Performance trends in schools clearly shows that students generally perform better in their favourite subjects.

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