What Makes Children Good At Math?

Being good at math is more than just better than average performance during math tests. Students, who are good at math, are more active during math classes, more analytical, confident and conscious of their skills.

On the other hand, kids with poor math skills are often scared of math classes and tests, have low self-esteem and experience problems with reading with understanding. Teachers and parents, who want to help their children to become better at math have to first understand what is the secret of good math performance.

What Makes Children Good At Math

Hard work is the number one factor leading to success

We are maybe too used to thinking that good genes and high IQ can take us very far and if a child possesses none of these two, he or she has no chance to be good at math. Neither the first nor the second part of this sentence is true. A large study of more than 3,500 math students from grade 5 to grade 10 showed that high IQ plays an important part only at the very early stage of the process.

The more students relied on their innate math skills, the worse was their performance in the long perspective. The best in math students were the ones, who constantly worked on improving their math skills. Researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology run into similar conclusions and named practicing the number one factor leading to better performance in math.

Believing in genes can be also misleading, since scientists universally agree that the environment is as important for developing all kinds of skills, as our genetic predispositions. It means that children with the “wrong” set of genes can be successful in math, if they practice a lot, while kids with “math genes” will struggle, if their inbred skills are not properly honed.

Motivation plays an important role too

The myth of high IQ and good genes as the key factors ensuring a success in math provides an easy excuse to not want to try harder. And studying math can indeed get hard at times, even for those who are good at it. What is most important is to not give up in the face of a challenge, but continue studying. Scientists have proven that motivation is almost as important for the success, as hard work.

However, it should also be the right kind of motivation. Children, who study math, because they want to have better grades, perform worse, than those, for whom studying math is in itself an interesting activity.

How to become better at math?

Your responsibility as a teacher or as a parent is to provide your children with enough materials to study math and convince them that math can be fun. Sounds impossible? Try Singapore math programs, which present a professional approach to teaching math that is more engaging and fun than traditional math curricula.

Singapore math workbooks contain enough material to ensure hours of practicing math and working on different types of math issues. To better support your children, praise their every achievement in math, even the smallest ones, and spend more time practicing math at home.

Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.

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