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What is Math phobia? How to deal with the fear of math

What is Math phobia? How to deal with the fear of math

Out of all the subjects taught in school, the maximum number of students fear the subject maths. Students can go through severe trauma while approaching maths subjects. Many students feel sleepy the moment they open their mathematics book. The story of mathematics and low grades is a classic one. The fear of mathematics and the inability to face the dreadful questions and solve them is called Math phobia.

Many students are so fearful that they avoid practicing math and lose interest in the subject. Math Phobia is not a natural or inborn problem but a social construct. It is a feeling that makes us feel uneasy about mathematics. Students with Math Phobia develop a negative mindset towards the said subject. Students think that they cannot perform well in mathematics due to several reasons.

We have shared the several causes that can lead to developing a fear for mathematics and the ways to overcome Math Phobia.

Possible causes of Math Phobia

Numerous factors can trigger Math phobia in students. One of the possible reasons for Math Phobia is the constant pressure put on the students by parents, teachers, and their peers, forcing them to give importance to mathematics.

The pressure and constant statements regarding the importance and difficulty of mathematics negatively impact the students’ subconscious minds. The continuous stress and dialogues passively transmit to the students that mathematics is challenging and cannot be solved quickly.

The myth that math is difficult to understand subject becomes a fact in the child’s subconscious, and slowly the student begins to fear mathematics.

The primary reason for developing Math Phobia is teachers and peers in school. Due to their very own experience, some teachers themselves are afraid of mathematics or unknowingly pretend in such a way that they make a fear for the subject among the students.

Some teachers stick to the prescribed syllabus and repetitive questions that eliminate the subject’s creativity and free-thinking. The repetitiveness and constant dialogues regarding the difficulty of the subject make it dull and a feeling of unease for the students.

Students start to feel bored and disinterested in mathematics is the traditional approach towards assessments from teachers. Several research and experiments show that the pressure faced by students due to examinations and constant tests also creates a bubble that shifts students’ interest away from the subject. Students’ constant anxiety and embarrassment due to lower grades can also lead to fear of mathematics.

How can students overcome the fear of Maths?

The primary reasons for developing Math Phobia in students’ brains surround parents, teachers, and schooling. A bit of an effort from an early age from these pillars can eliminate the chances of developing Math Phobia in students.

Keen anticipation and an open-minded outlook can not only help students develop an interest but even fall in love with the subject. For someone who has fears regarding the subject and cannot concentrate for a second while reading mathematics, the tips given below can help overcome the fear of math.

Parents play a huge role in making students interested in the subject. Talking about the benefits of maths, its practical uses of the scope of creativity, and how exciting and easy it can be for someone who learns it with heart can positively impact the child’s subconscious mind.

A positive environment at home where the student is free to try out maths without the fear of scoring low grades can allow them to go back to the subject. Parents must eliminate pressure from the students’ shoulders and accept their exam results wholeheartedly with a smile and calm gesture. This calm gesture will boost students’ morale and help them get connected with the subject.

In schools, teachers must try to actively participate in keeping Math Phobia at a distance from their students. Allow students to try math questions without judging them as right or wrong immediately. Rather understanding why they chose that approach will allow teachers to help students better. A classroom environment that allows creativity and fun and removes fear from students’ brains can invoke love for any subject.

A positive environment, a Hand-on activity approach, and blended learning through engagement can also help students overcome a fear of maths. Teachers should try to make an environment where a failure is an option and not a student’s flaw.

We can encourage them to learn from mistakes and not force them to feel bad for their mistakes, allowing them to learn and improve their math solving skills. A positive mindset and a healthy environment are crucial for bringing back the love for the subject.

How can Navima help to overcome Math Phobia?

At Navima, we aim to make the teaching and learning cycle more effective without increasing the pressure on teachers and students. With the help of adaptive drills on the platform, it focuses on each student and helps them grow and learn at their pace with the help of a recommended drill, without putting any pressure on students to perform and get marks.

Navima transforms the way math is taught in school and classrooms by making the teaching-learning cycle more efficient and decreasing the time for teachers during the assessment. Navima creates an atmosphere where even if the students get answers wrong, they will learn from it and get recommended practice based on the learning gaps.

Real-life application-based questions and efficient classes allow the students to learn the art of math solving. Navima creates a positive environment that can eliminate the fear of mathematics and invoke interest in the child.

Kindly let us know in the comments below how you help anyone overcome math phobia as an educator.

Peer-to-Peer Learning

Peer-to-Peer Learning

Have you ever noticed that every student has their learning style and level? That’s why, despite studying the same material with the same teacher in the same classroom, some students excel while others stumble. In this situation, they practice self-learning. However, they use the peer-to-peer learning approach to ask their classmates questions. You all must be thinking about what this method is? So let us know more about it:

What is Peer-to-Peer learning?

Peer-to-peer learning is a method in which students assist one another in learning ideas with or without the intervention of an instructor. Because it also relieves the burden on a teacher, peer-to-peer learning may be particularly effective in large groups. It also provides learners with relevant materials, feedbacks, and required help.

This method of learning is quicker and more practical than traditional instruction. For example, when students talk to their peers, they can share what they think or solve the questions. It also motivates the students and lets them get open to each other.

It is a learning method that utilizes trusted peers to discuss concepts with other peers in the class. Students use it when they feel they need additional help. It can be formal or informal, implementing various instructions techniques, sharing concepts with other students, and offering feedback and corrections.

Significance:

I am more fascinated with this type of learning, as it helps learners in self-development. Compared to other students, I used to lack confidence as I thought they had more knowledge, experience, and grasp of the concept. But I could have learned better with the help of peer-to-peer learning.

Now, I’m an educator, but we have all been students at some point in our lives, and we have all needed assistance at some point, whether it is attempting to comprehend a new topic or learning how to use a new software application. Sometimes we get the privilege and rapidly obtain the information we need from suitable sources, but this is not always the case for individual or contextual reasons. Such a situation exists in peer-to-peer learning, where learners can collaborate to learn with each other.

Few concepts are complex for the students to grasp, and many are hesitant to ask questions to the teachers in front of the whole class. Because they feel comfortable asking their peers, peer-to-peer learning is an excellent solution to tackle this. It allows students to learn from one another by ensuring that each student can complete the task. It is also one of the ways that schools may implement competency-based learning into the classroom under the teacher’s observation.

Implementing Peer-to-Peer learning in the classroom:

Schools traditionally have been seen as an institution for handing down knowledge to students. However, in today’s culture, passively educating the class is no longer sufficient. For this reason, Peer-to-peer learning has become a key strategy in education. Peer-to-peer learning places the students on an equal footing within a shared space where they can see one another and interact by sharing resources and taking part in the learning process for their own experience.

Since we all know, a teacher is an important figure in our classrooms because they set students up for success. Teachers implement a variety of strategies to improve students’ conceptual understanding, including theory and collaboration, for the benefit of the students. It makes use of technology to assist in the process.

In this scenario, we can adapt the blended learning method in our teaching style as a helping hand with the technology. Online educational tools can help us to implement peer-to-peer learning in the classroom. One can use Navima educational platform, which has a feature that promotes peer-to-peer learning. Navima allows to diagnose students as per their learning level and let them learn and grow with their peers with its collaborative learning features.

However, it is essential in this global pandemic with a lack of communication and face-to-face conversation with peers. Here, the platform helps the students study and motivate peers, promoting positivity in the classroom.

Many institutions have already implemented this strategy in the classroom and seen significant improvements in student progress. Adapting multiple learning methodologies will aid in the enormous growth to ensure that no child is left behind.

Thank you for reading this blog post. We would appreciate your comments. Kindly share your experiences of peer-to-peer learning in the classroom.

Happy learning!

Competency Based Learning: The Next Big Thing

Competency Based Learning: The Next Big Thing

How often have we thought that the knowledge gained in school was of little use in the real world? It becomes even clearer when we see the lesser relevance of school education to what we do in our daily lives. This situation has urged us to shift our traditional learning approach to Competency-based Learning.

Despite having some fantastic school teachers deliver the topics, students often think that a specific portion of the study is only for rote memorisation- a way to earn better grades. We start believing that higher scores in the final tests reflect students’ better learning levels. Therefore, in the race for a high score, we miss out on an essential objective of education: empowering students to explore their actual potential.

Our ever-changing world demands skills, knowledge, and abilities that help our students thrive in the path they choose to be successful. Time has come to embrace Competency-Based Learning. This approach focuses on the students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts, critical thinking and skills such as problem-solving, essential for a successful life. 

Competency-based learning is almost similar to Outcome-based Learning. Its key objective is to be practical education in terms of emphasising the need for demonstration of skills.

More importantly, to align the teaching and learning process to pre-defined outcomes for each topic. This approach will ensure school education is more effective and ensures students’ readiness for the need of the contemporary world. 

In Competency-based Learning, the teaching and learning experience in the class ensures that students are achieving the set learning outcomes. The pedagogy emphasises the teachers to use a student-centric approach such as collaboration, experiential learning, multidisciplinary methods such as art integration and the use of digital tools for helping students become more engaged in the process.

Competency-based learning assessments are designed ‘for the learning’ and not ‘of the learning’. Hence this assessment becomes a tool for the teachers to diagnose the learning gaps for student’s learning levels and help them achieve the desired competency. 

To achieve this objective, Competency-Based Assessment includes both objective questions such as multiple-choice questions and detailed answer questions designed to demonstrate the conceptual understanding of the subject.

Our New Education Policy (NEP-2020) lays great importance on students becoming independent learners. How can we ensure that students take more responsibility in their learning? As educators, it is time to explore new resources to make our teaching more student-centric and ensure it is engaging enough to create motivation among the learners. For example, a subject like Mathematics is a life skill for the 21st century. To empower students to achieve mastery in mathematics requires a variety of practice. With the pandemic situation, digital learning has increased leaps and bounds. Openness to explore the possibility of digital tools to optimise teaching time is the way forward.

Blended learning can be a path ahead, allowing us to spend more time to help the lagging students. While working with students in the classroom, I have found that students can build higher competency in mathematics using Navima. Navima pedagogy is proven for identifying and addressing student’s learning gaps and develop conceptual clarity through recommended practice on each math skill.

Competency-based learning is a process that will become successful with the integration of technology even after the pandemic is over. We, as educators, can make a difference by allowing students to lead the learning. Will you be the educational change maker of the 21st century? Try asking why a student should learn the unit you are running in the ongoing class. Then check if the students have clearly understood what they are required to actuate, demonstrate once that unit is over. I believe it is a simple start to this fascinating new voyage of learning. 

Mathematical Thinking and How to Develop it

Mathematical Thinking and How to Develop it

The subject of mathematics has always scared a significant portion of society, be it the school-going kids or the working professionals. “I hate mathematics” is a widespread line often heard among the students. However, according to leading Mathematicians, this is just a manifestation that people have experienced hardships in math. This experience may not be because of their intelligence but rather how students get exposure to the subject. This belief led to the introduction of Mathematical Thinking.

What is Mathematical Thinking?

It is a fact that most people perceive maths to be a collection of formulas that they try to memorize and make calculations. Although maths does involve measures, it is also more than that. Mathematical Thinking involves viewing maths, not as a set of rules that must be followed but instead noticing the patterns. It consists in breaking down these problems into digestible portions and then working towards solving said problem.

Maths involves incorporating logical and structural reasoning to solve theoretical math problems and contribute to real-life problem-solving.

What is the need for mathematical Thinking?

Many people restrict mathematics only to exams and the school premises. However, Mathematical Thinking has taught us that there is a lot to benefit from improving the way one view.

In a nutshell, Mathematical Thinking helps to foster problem-solving abilities in people through the use of mathematics. By nurturing the skill of Mathematical Thinking, one will attain the following benefits:

  • Improves one critical Thinking and will enhance their performance in mathematics.
  • Students increase interest in mathematics by noticing patterns and similarities between sums.
  • Better problem-solving capabilities through logical reasoning
  • Mathematical Thinking connects theoretical answers to practical problems.
  • Students learn to find more efficient ways to solve maths sums.

How can Mathematical Thinking be developed?

the following methods can nurture mathematical Thinking:-

  1. Creating Compartments: As mentioned above, the first step to solving a mathematical sum is to break it down into its constituent parts. One can focus on each compartment to understand the purpose behind each action in the aggregate. Therefore, one does not get overwhelmed by it. The same goes for real-life problems as well.
  2. Determining Skills: The next step would be to decide what skills are required to solve each compartment. In addition to this, the stage also requires one to understand if they possess the skill or not.
  3. Creating a Strategy: The next order of business is to formulate a strategy. Creating a foolproof method is a crucial aspect of solving a math problem.
  4. Alternatives: It is possible that the strategy created can be improved. Therefore, this step requires brainstorming options that could make the solution to the sum quicker or easier.
  5. Noticing Patterns: The next step is to see underlying patterns present within the solution, allowing one to create recognized similar problems that one may notice in the future.
  6. Examples: An excellent method for remembering the concept behind a sum is to recall instances. These examples can be in the form of

Mathematical Thinking in kids:

Kids are known to pick up things quickly, be it bad habits or hobbies. Their curiosity to learn can be a plus when it comes to teaching them to think mathematically. The incorporation of mathematical Thinking into solving math problems can help a student stay invested in the subject.

A student will learn to understand the reasoning behind the steps in a maths sum, which will encourage them to be inquisitive about situations in the real world beyond the walls of their classrooms. Therefore, Mathematical Thinking urges a student to learn more about their surroundings.

Some ways to make kids think mathematically are:

  • Please start the process by allocating more straightforward tasks that can help increase their confidence in their abilities and introduce them to the topic at hand.
  • Providing support to the children as they work towards completing said tasks.
  • Revise or revisit the tasks that they found challenging or the ones that they could not solve.

These small activities with school-going kids will make their thinking abilities deep and conceptual. They will visualize, learn the processes, the connections, the concepts, and not just the solutions. It exposes them to ways of thinking that will benefit them for the remainder of their schooling and their lives after that.

Given the advantages of learning online, many students have turned to web-based education platforms to understand concepts and foster the ability to think mathematically. Navima is one such platform that provides some of the best online math programs for elementary students.

This web-based learning system covers all the topics present in a typical elementary grade syllabus.

The teachers can give suitable worksheets to students, and when they complete and submit them, the Navima platform analyses where the student is making mistakes. After doing so, the platforms generate stumbling points for each student. Based on these stumbling points, the algorithm creates a tailored worksheet to fill in these learning gaps. It also benefits the teachers as they understand the student’s weak points.

This complete system makes the understanding of maths easy and fun. It motivates math learners through the gamification feature. This feature involves virtual trophies and coins for Math Practise that, in turn, encourage maths.

The specially designed tasks can positively affect how students view math problems at Navima, which improves their mathematical Thinking at the elementary level only.

Blended learning in Indian classrooms!

Blended learning in Indian classrooms!

The Indian education system has been experiencing a transformation in the past few years. We, as educators, are trying to bring a positive change in the classrooms. As experiments are an essential part of our lives, they help us to find a better solution. We implement new methods in the classrooms to make teaching and learning more interactive. To make the classroom teaching more interactive we will highlight a strategy known as blended learning.

Traditional teaching methodologies help children to focus on their studies and create a social environment. I feel that these methodologies help children to learn discipline in their school days. Additionally, it gives a stable plan to students for study. Possibly, it creates a lack of flexibility in the schedule and limits the participation of students.

Contrarily, the power of technology helps us to find multiple ways to empower the education system. The precise use of technology makes teaching-learning more effective in all manner. In India, the digital revolution is already transforming education to the next level. In the current education system, it has become a necessity. Despite the challenges, we must admit that Ed-Tech is the future of education.

As an educator, I prefer using technology wisely in the classrooms. However, education technology needs improvisation in terms of planning and implementation.

There is a continuous debate on ‘which is the better education style?’. It doesn’t matter if we use the traditional or digital way of teaching. What if we choose the strengths of both the methods and implement them in the schools for better results? Our ultimate goal is to give better education to children.

Most of us have already introduced Blended Learning in schools. It is an approach that blends offline and online education. Though the definition of blended learning is simple to understand, it is far more than that!

A teacher needs add-on tools to improve the teaching and learning quality. Blended learning is not just sharing the worksheets online and using an online tool to connect with children. Let us create a participative atmosphere for children through the effective strategy of blended learning.

Establishing good infrastructure might not help all the time if you are not using it effectively. Taking advantage of available resources and learning the concepts very well is a need. There must be careful management of all the possible combinations of elements. There are fewer chances that schools have an up-to-date infrastructure in countries like India. We also need to consider the fact that children face issues while studying online from home. Indian schools are fighting several challenges. We lack enthusiasm for innovation, have insufficient training for teachers, and lack infrastructure. However, we can implement blended learning with proper planning.

Active learning happens using the concept of blended learning. It gives opportunities to children to learn beyond classroom education. They can connect with their teachers using the best possible use of technology. It helps teachers to identify the learning needs of children immediately. Time management becomes easy with technology.

We are living in the digital age of education where a lot of other changes are in process. We must take advantage of technology to fulfill child’s learning requirements.

There are several types of blended learning strategies in the classroom. Station rotation is the most popular among all. This mode of learning allows students to rotate through the stations on a fixed schedule. It is the most common and successful way of implementation.

Implementing station rotation model for math class in blended learning.

This model is easy to implement but needs teachers’ intervention in all the stations. We need to maintain class strength for better results. A teacher can implement this model for multiple topics at a time. A teacher can choose the time limit to complete the cycle.

Let us observe how we can manage math class using this model.

Creating stations

Creating stations depends on the resources available at that time. No matter how many stations we are creating, at least one station should be of online engagement.
Three main stations could be;

1. Teacher-driven station
2. Online activity station
3. Review station

1. Teacher-driven station:

As the name suggests, teachers manage this station. It covers topic planning, setting instructions for children, teaching a topic, formative assessments, checking homework, and review. We make sure that all the topics follow these steps. A teacher can use their best strategies to deliver a session. A teacher can even distribute the assignments to them. We can also use digital tools to interact with the students.

2. Online activity station:

This is a station where technology plays an essential role. We can use creative online tools to engage children. Use educational tools like Navima to assign worksheets. It creates motivation in students to practice more. Adaptive drills ensure that students are learning well. The best part of this station is that students get a personalized learning experience. A teacher takes the formative assessment using Navima. Assign the teacher-made worksheets to check their understanding.

3. Review Station:

It takes students to offline mode again. A teacher can plan a review session for that particular topic. Make small groups of students and let them review their assignments. It will help them with collaborative learning. They will find a solution using each other’s knowledge. A teacher has to present to control the class. A teacher can use educational tools like Navima to check students’ proficiency.

For better results, keep the above stations in your planning. We can add a few more stations while planning. It depends upon the class strength, topic weightage, resources, and time.

Blended learning will be effective when we plan and implement it in the best possible way. Let us try and see the results. Thank you for reading my blog post. We would appreciate your comments. Kindly share your outcomes after implementing blended learning.

Happy learning!

How Labels Shape Our Identity!

How Labels Shape Our Identity!

Who is Good, who is Bad!
Who is Sharp, who is Blunt!

Have you ever thought why, in a classroom, all students who get equal education perform differently? Is there something in students or, is there anything wrong with the teachers in what they are doing? Let’s talk about how labels shape our identity.

As an educator, I don’t use the word SMART. I request all my students not to use this word for anyone. I make sure not to use this word during any of my interactions with students.

What is powerful about this phrase is that it compels us to examine how we might feel and what judgments we can make for a student. The word SMART has become a sellable product. Thus, we might be using it to describe people and things that are smart in diverse ways, but we use terms with an understanding that there is still something more to the meaning.

According to the connotation that comes out with the term, SMART is very wrong. Ever thought, what message do we convey to people when we say somebody is Smart? Or, how exactly their mind interprets this word? Being able to perform a specific skill? The Tyranny of Exceptionalism we are talking about once again here? When we tell kids that they are smart, it does nothing good to them. And this word has become a way for people to classify children into two different categories: Smart and Not Smart.

So, how is label an issue? It can affect a student’s identity. Sometimes teachers give their students labels, which the students then must carry for the rest of their academic careers.

If we give labels students not smart, then based on their perception of the word, they can consider themself as a failure. That can affect their interest and lower their motivation. Students might also experience a sense of social stress. They might feel like giving up as they are not getting rewarded for the efforts they are making.
If we enter the notion of smartness, which has consolidated into a meta-synthesis under which children are assessed. This also refers to two other directions in the quantitative growth of exposure to labels: first, into labelling that makes children compare themselves to one another; second, into labelling that confirms that society divides people into categories.

When it comes to education, giving labels to students lead to comparison among peers. That may develop an inferiority complex and insecurities among the students as peers exert the most influence during their early years of education. So, the point made here is that when we label any student in their early years, it can be damaging for them in the longer run.

In different instances of life, even as a teacher, I can relate to these kids. I have always struggled with solving math problems, so by societal standards, I thought of myself as someone who falls into the Not Smart category. I could have never taken a different frame of reference, considered innovative ideas, and what areas and parts of math did I struggle with? What did I think would be worth understanding better? Was math too hard?

No, after years of being a student in the classroom, I realized that my peers were not SMARTER than me at math, this was never the case. They just exuded intelligence, and I did not. That led me to believe that I was somehow dorky than my peers. But I just learned at my own pace, and so I required distinct help. But teachers, parents, and students misuse the word SMART as a label that you had to earn.

Instead of telling a child that they are smart, specify what they did precisely and why it was deliberate. Preferably tell them how the skills they exhibit will confound the outcome of a situation. Children are more than a label. Please know this. Knowing all of this now, I pray that you will modulate your whole panorama on yourself.

Some points might make an impact on the system. Like, we should stop saying comparative sentences while addressing a class of students. Appreciating every student’s skillset helps to boost confidence. Let us accept the fact that we have some weaknesses. Understanding the child’s area of forte and weakness develops a balance of perception of ours and the others.

There is no issue with the word – SMART or other labels but how people or society interpret it from any sentence. It is just another beautiful word for appreciation. It’s us who use it in such a way that as soon as it comes out of our mouth, it is a tag and describes it or understands it subconsciously as a foundation of yet another discrimination.

Let us use these words as it was supposed to be used and not as a label.

Thank you for reading my immensely long post, which is somewhat of me venting while also aggravating to rouse you. I hope it seizes to your heart.

-Navima