<![CDATA[Creating Passionate Learners with Love and Fun - Blog]]>Sat, 20 Jan 2018 14:24:53 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Higher Order Thinking for Math]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 04:18:14 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2018/01/higher-order-thinking-for-math.htmlHigher Order Thinking for Math with More Than Just Numbers
The importance of higher order thinking for math is a skill that cannot be over emphasized. It is the foundation for a long and successful career, regardless of what field a child turns to as an adult. Being equipped with the right mathematical skills and the ability to analyze data is something that prepares a child for nearly every occupation. Whether a child becomes a scientist, engineer, coder, doctor, or financial analyst, most of the occupations that we consider prestigious or desirable use numbers.
The younger our children are when they start to use higher order thinking for math, the easier it will be for them to understand it as they reach the higher levels of math, like trigonometry and calculus. Even if a child does not use math in their career, it is necessary for handling personal finances, particularly for loans, mortgages, and saving for retirement.
higher ordering thinking for math

Higher Order Thinking for Math

This is not a new concept for most teachers, and over the years different approaches and strategies have evolved to further teach elementary children these skills. These activities go beyond the simple flashcards for memorization, providing a way to learn to work through math problems using critical thinking.

Posing the Right Kinds of Questions

If you ask a child what they like least about math, they will almost always say word problems. The problem is that we tend to think about math only in terms of numbers, so asking kids to look at words and determine what numbers go where immediately turns math into the impossible. Word problems also expect the child to determine what numbers are relevant to the question at the end.

One way to help children overcome this aversion to mixing words and math is to ask questions that start them thinking about math in terms of word problems. Open ended questions are an ideal way to help a child begin to think of numbers in terms of what they mean and not just a problem to solve. Take a word problem and analyze the different aspects of it, including the parts that do not pertain to the answer so that the child knows why that number is being excluded. Questions like “What happens if you use this number to …” and “How would you sort …” teach the child to think of the numbers in terms of meaning, not just a number on the page.

Assessment questions also help a student understand the numbers and why they were used. Questions like “How did you figure that out?” and “Why did you choose that way?” get the child to think about other ways to solve the problem.

Beyond Numbers: How to Use Words, Graphs, Diagrams

Higher order thinking for math should certainly include a visual aspect because that is one of the primary ways it will be applied in adulthood. Of course, the higher levels of math require students to use graphs and charts.

Word problems are a staple of learning, even adding and subtracting. However, these methods should be used as often as common math problems because they get children to think of math from many different angles. This also makes the more complicated types of math less scary because children will be accustomed to seeing mathematical problems as pictures and words instead of simply numbers.

Importance of Math Curriculum - Singapore Mathematics

Using the appropriate math curriculum to develop our children higher order thinking skills is crucial.

Mathematics curriculum from Singapore provides a number of different activities, particularly emphasizing Heuristics and Thinking Skills so that kids learn to understand and solve the most difficult word problems. This is applied across all of the mathematical concepts, from basic geometry to algebra.

Why Singapore Mathematics Ranks Among the Best

The Singapore Mathematics approaches higher order thinking in math using a model or block method. From the basic functions, like adding and subtraction, children work on math sentences. This teaches students to think in terms of words, even when they are given numbers, giving them a way to understand numbers from another perspective.

Singapore also focuses on a few topics at a time, looking into the different functions and understanding them in detail before moving on to the next subject. Starting in grade school, students are taught math in terms of words and visuals, progressing from the concrete numbers used in most countries, to the visuals that show kids a different way to think of the data, and finally ends with math from an abstract approach. All of this is done through focusing on problem solving.
Creating a Foundation for Critical Thinking in Math

In grade school, children are introduced to these ideas so that math is more than just numbers. Kids are taught to look at the problem and break it down into what each piece of information means.

They create a visual to show where the problem started, such as with a bar to represent 10 apples. The problem is then analyzed further to understand what is happening to those apples: adding, subtracting, or working from a percentage. The child then changes the visual to show the change. The child then needs to think about the visual to understand what it is showing: this requires a mental visualization of the function going on to show how the problem went from the first step to the next. The child then progresses through the problem until the final question is answered.

Such framework of Singapore Mathematics has resulted Singapore being consistent ranked number one in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.

Start laying a strong foundation on higher order thinking in math for your child with these Singapore Mathematics Worksheets.
<![CDATA[Higher Order Thinking for Reading]]>Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:25:52 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/11/higher-order-thinking-for-reading.htmlUsing Higher Order Thinking for Reading to Encourage Thinking beyond the Obvious
One thing that most of us take for granted is higher order thinking for reading and comprehension. The general assumption is that if a child can read, the meaning of the text is clear. However, this is increasingly not the case in a world where we are flooded with images and words with very little time to process them. It is too easy for children to accept that they do not understand all of the text and press on further into the book without bothering to comprehend what they have read.
Getting children to realize that they are missing too much information to progress can be a difficult and frustrating process. By implementing the right strategies in literacy activities and teaching children from a young age to want to learn everything there is to know on the page will greatly increase their higher order thinking for reading and comprehension.
higher order thinking for reading

Higher Order Thinking for Reading in Literacy Activities

Questioning Beyond the Obvious

It is easy to turn reading comprehension into regurgitation, but this does not require higher order thinking in reading; it requires only memorization. The first few questions are usually simple questions that are easy for a child to answer, such as what color is the jacket the main character was wearing, but these should tie into more complicated questions. For example, does the color foreshadow something that happens in the story? Does the jacket have a special meaning to the character?

Trying to get the child to predict what happens next or to suggest reasons why characters acted in a certain way help a child to consider what they have read. These kinds of questions go well beyond what the reading passage tells them, getting them to draw conclusions and ideas based on what they know. 

The Importance of Vocabulary

Most of us stop working on our vocabulary long before we finish high school. However, developing a larger vocabulary teaches children not only new ways to express ideas, they learn about the different nuances of synonyms. Reading passages should always include at least a couple of words that a child is not likely to have encountered before reading them. Using the context clues, the child can learn to understand what the word means. It is also a good time to try to think of several synonyms or antonyms, and discuss the word in more detail.

Beginning Strategy

Younger children will not have as many experiences to draw on for their reading comprehension. To get a child to start using higher order thinking in reading, you have to start them out slowly. Ask some of the more obvious questions so that they can focus on a few key areas. From there, the other half of the questions can push the child to think a little beyond what they have read.

You can focus on questions like, “How do you think that made the character feel?” for a passage where a character cried. That can be followed with a question about why the child thinks the character feels that way. You want to get children to think about cause and effect in the early stages. One of the last questions you can ask the child is to predict what will happen next.

Continuing to Challenge Thinking

As the child get accustomed to thinking outside of just what is presented in reading passages, you can start to make fewer questions that are easily answered. Focus on questions that require the child to infer what will happen and how the story will go because of this. You can expand beyond simply reading passages and books, moving into chapter books and more complicated stories so that the child can see how close their answer was to what actually happened. This kind of critical thinking pushes them to understand beyond the obvious and to understand the more complex aspects of a story. Encourage the child to use the new vocabulary words in answering questions, including vocabulary words that they learned earlier in the book.

Reading comprehension is a frequently overlooked skill, but it has some of the best potential for teaching children to apply analytical skills in a more entertaining and engaging way. Higher order thinking in reading provides a skill that can be applied to the child’s own life to understand how others think and act.
<![CDATA[Critical Thinking Exercises]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 03:22:19 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/11/critical-thinking-exercises.htmlUsing Critical Thinking Exercises to Develop Higher Order Thinking in Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Critical thinking exercises and activities are key to getting children to learn how to analyze problems from different angles. While memorization is a great way for children to learn the basics, developing their ability to think and analyze is vital to teaching them how to make good decisions. The younger children are when parents and teachers start to develop these skills, the more natural decision making will become.
As we want to avoid constant repetition and memorization, there are a number of different activities that parents and teachers can use to ensure that the child’s thinking is challenged. Of course, it is also important to revisit similar problems from time to time to see if the child can come up with a new way to solve the problem. Remember that critical thinking exercises should be just that, exercises. They should stretch a child’s current knowledge, pushing it just a little further without making them too frustrating for the child.

The following critical thinking exercises can be done on worksheets, online, or even created by you. Each category includes a few examples of games and activities for young children.

Critical Thinking Exercises and Activities

Puzzle for Critical Thinking exercises
Puzzles are one of the easiest and most entertaining activities for critical thinking skills. There is a wide variety of different types of puzzle types, from the traditional jigsaw puzzles to more advanced types of picture Sudoku. This makes it easy to work puzzles into a regular routine without making it feel like work for the child. You can even provide a different set of puzzle types and let the child choose which one he or she wants to do that day. If they are really interested, children can even choose to do a couple of puzzles each day to engage different parts of their brains.

The following are a few puzzle types for young children that offer a range of skill levels.

  • The jigsaw puzzle is a great way to help train the brain to take information and process pieces into a whole. They can also be used to teach other lessons as well. For example, a map of the US can be used as a jigsaw puzzle for Kindergarteners to teach them about the different states, as well as the puzzle.

  • Crosswords are an interesting option, but it is important to remember to keep them simple. These types of puzzles help children to learn to work with clues and hints while working out how to stay within set parameters.

  • Picture Sudoku is one of the new and more interesting types of puzzles because it can be more difficult to explain to a child. Sudoku accesses some of the highest levels of cognitive ability, so it should not be pushed every day, particularly if a child becomes frustrated while working with the puzzle.
Patterns and Pairing
This is one of the very basic but extremely important type of critical thinking exercises. Learning to recognize patterns is something that most people have trouble with because it requires the ability to think ahead based on available information.

While not quite as challenging, pairing helps children to understand the relationships between what is in front of them. This can be pictures of mother animals and their babies, words, or even pictures of objects and their uses. There are a number of possibilities for pairings, making it an interesting exercise for adults as well as children.
Mazes are a staple for critical thinking exercises. It teaches children how to think about getting from one place to another. While technology has made it easier to go from one place to another without thinking as an adult, mazes also teach children to plan ahead. They learn that blindly moving ahead will result in more dead ends, so they have to trace ahead with their eyes or fingers before moving forward with the writing utensil.
Like puzzles, comparisons can be really fun for children. They usually involve both difficult and easy aspects. One example of a comparison is the set of two pictures with a specific number of differences. There are almost always a few differences that are easy to spot, and then the child must focus harder on the details to find the remaining differences. Comparisons can also be combined with patterns and pairings to offer a real challenge.
Do check out these Educational Kids' Printables to entertain children and help them to develop their mental skills.
<![CDATA[Higher Order Thinking Skills]]>Thu, 19 Oct 2017 01:26:45 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/10/higher-order-thinking-skills.htmlSix Learning Strategies to Develop Children Higher Order Thinking Skills
Higher order thinking skills, also called HOTS or critical thinking skills can be taught.

Some traditional schools taught children basic thinking skills such as acquisition of knowledge, comprehension and rote learning (memorization) from young. As parents and educators, we can start our kids off by steering them away from memorization and regurgitation of information. Instead, assist them in organization and guide their paths to more complex reasoning with learning strategies.

Firstly, let’s understand what are HOTS…

Bloom’s Taxonomy Cognitive Learning Skills

Professor Benjamin Bloom, from University of Chicago, identified 6 levels of cognitive learning skills set which was later known as “Blooms Taxonomy”. He taught that these skills are actually a progressive complex mix from the lower order thinking skills. Blooms Taxonomy ranks knowledge at the bottom because it involves simple recall of information like memorizing facts of a butterfly’s life cycle while listing evaluation as the highest/most difficult as it requires judgment, comparison and problem solving skills.

Higher Order Thinking Skills
In summary,

Blooms Taxonomy:
  • Evaluation - Recommending or Judging Outcome
  • Synthesis - Creating and Inventing New Ideas based on Old Concept
  • Analysis - Identifying Patterns and Trends
  • Application - Using Knowledge for Problem Solving
  • Comprehension - Understanding, Discussing and Summarizing
  • Knowledge - Gathering and Recalling Information

Learning Strategies to Adopt

Key Concepts Identification
Concepts can be verbal/non verbal, concrete/abstract or process. Suppose you want to identify a process concept. You would explain how things work in sequential steps.  An explanation of how iron would rust under different conditions is a good science process concept.
Concepts Connection
New concepts can be connected to old ones learned and to expand knowledge base. Take water for example. Most of them know what is water but how do you turn them into ice for food preservation or steam as a form of energy?
Mind Mapping
It is essentially a visual aid to help our children grasp important concepts at a glance to understand the different relationships mapped out in the topic of interest. It is also an excellent way to record our thoughts. Short, sharp and to the point.
Inculcate Inference
Teach your children how to interpret or come to a conclusion, given certain circumstances. For example, in Japan, children of early childhood education get earthquakes drill regularly. “What does it mean when you have to hide under the table?”
Re-Write Your Own Story
This method helps your children to think about what they already know but at the same time be involved like they are the characters themselves. “If you are the wolf, where would you wait for Little Red Riding Hood and why?” Reward them for their creativity and novelty.
Family Support
Practice what you preach is a good way forward. Encourage discussions that do not have straight answers of right or wrong to it. Choose issues that may affect them that they read in the news. You could try questions like “Do you think banning gum in school is a good idea?”
Importance of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
Gone are the days when our forefathers earned their bread and butter in the traditional way before the invention of computers. HOTS prepare our children for a future that could potentially be far more complex than ours. HOTS sharpen our children’s independent/critical thinking skills and promote understanding which is useful in tackling unexpected scenarios and to solve multifarious issues.

Let’s teach our children how to think.
<![CDATA[Visual Learners]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:24:07 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/10/visual-learners.htmlVisual Learners Traits and Teaching Strategies
Does your child show common visual learners’ traits?

The ability to identify the learning style of each child helps tremendously for us, the parents, to teach them effectively. Though 65% of population learns visually but our children may not be one of them.

Close observation and tune our teaching method according to our children learning preference helps minimize frustration for both parent and child. It was only after many observations then I realized my son's visual learning preference.

Characteristics of Visual Learners

visual learner drawing
For visual learning preference child, he learns best from seeing information. Some of the common traits I have observed are:

  • Learn by Watching Others
  • Use Images to Remember
  • Prefer Face-to-Face Conversation
  • Distracted by Noise Easily
  • Enjoy Pictures, Drawings and Color-Oriented

Teaching Strategies

Based on the characteristics, we can deliver information in the most preferred method accordingly. Here are my personal experiences with my son.
Always Give Visual Cue in addition to Verbal Instruction
My son’s music teacher wanted the children to sing with accompanied simple action; nodding head, swinging arms and clapping hands. He cannot take his eyes off his teacher's action as he follows through. Even after many attempts, he was unable to follow through if the teacher was not there to show the actions.

Write It Down
Never do oral spelling with visual learners!

My son was playing with a compass. He asked me what does the S stands for. I told him S-O-U-T-H as I spell it out to him verbally. He just could not get it even after my several repetitions. He felt frustrated and requested me to spell it out on a piece of paper. Then he was satisfied after looking at the word.

As such, my teaching strategies for him when learning words:

-    Learn to Spell Words
He learns how to spell words by writing them down. I read the word from his spelling list and he writes it down instead of spelling it out verbally. There is a great improvement on his spelling skills after adopting this method.

-    Learn Synonym and Antonym
He learns synonym and antonym based on sight. He will write down each word on a small piece of paper. Mix them all up, then match the set of words. Challenge him to have a perfect score or involve the sister to play a round of word matching game.

Use Illustration and Drawings
In addition to write it down what they learned, visual learners can also benefit from drawing it out. Drawing is another form of expression by kids. It reinforces their understanding of concept.

-    Teach Math with Visual Model
math worksheet with drawings
Look what my son has done to the worksheet. It is great he found a method works well for him.
Mathematics concept may be abstract for kids to understand. An effective method to help my son solve math word problems is to draw it out.

MySingapore Math Worksheets are visually appealing. It comes with colorful visual model to assist kids to understand concept before moving into numeric terms without visual aids.

-    Educational Tools and Mathematics Manipulative
Educational toys such as jigsaw puzzles, mazes and board games are great learning tools for them. You will be surprised when the child starts telling you some details of the pictures on the puzzles, board games or books. Visual kids tend to notice details too.

Provide Attentive and Conducive Learning Environment
For several times, my son pulled my face towards him and make eye contact with me as he speaks. Having eye-contact and engaging face-to-face communication help him to listen and understand better. This is his preferred mode of communication.

Gives full attention and patience when teaching. Allow adequate waiting time for oral questions and answers as visual learners need to process image information into oral form.

No one is allowed into the study room when we teach him. This is to minimize distraction during our lesson time.

Have you noticed any of these traits in your child? Take your time to observe your kid during your daily interaction with him. Adopt the right teaching strategies and let your child learn effectively.
<![CDATA[Auditory Learners]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 06:11:01 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/09/auditory-learners.htmlStrategies for Auditory Learners to Succeed in School
Auditory learners benefit most from traditional teaching methods whereby teacher gives instruction verbally or delivers information via lecture. There are more we can do to enhance their learning experiences based on auditory learning preferences.
auditory learners
If you were to observe the children in a class, these are the ones who can follow instruction after being told once or twice.

You will also notice some kids like to talk it out as they process new information. Or, have you heard them humming to themselves when there is no music playing around?

Ways to Leverage the Strength of these Auditory Learners:

Read to the Child

They prefer listening to stories rather than reading stories. Read to the child will definitely arouse his interest.
This is also an opportunity to play some fun reading activities as they enjoy sound.
  • play rhyming word games with nursery rhymes or make up some silly rhymes together.
  • ask child to predict how story end.
  • revisit an old favorite by reading aloud after you. Pause to let him fill in the words or phases.
For older kids, let them read out comprehension stories. Use oral question and answer method can be more effective versus written.
Instead of stocking up physical books, you may want to consider audio books.

Oral Repetition

Reciting information to himself as he learns to internalize new information is helpful to the child.

Let the child uses oral repetition in learning how to spell and memorizing multiplication tables. Constant reciting loud information makes it easier for him to remember.

_Learn Math with Math Songs

If need be, use math songs to enhance his learning experience. It will be so much fun for the kid to learn times tables using songs. This is applicable for young kids to learn how to count.

Group Discussion

It will be helpful if they study in a group, as they will learn best through discussion or explaining things to others.

Tips to Overcome Auditory Learning Weaknesses:

Though it is important to support your child learning preference, as parents, we need to help them to overcome or coup with some of their weaknesses.

Some kids may not be good at reading written instructions. Advise him to read out written instructions several times so that he can understand better. If a science topic on dinosaur is taught by touching clay figures in school, revise the subject through question and discuss with your child orally.

With technology, many audio materials are currently available for one to learn. You can get books-on-tape or music and made these readily available at home.
Simply talk to your child more often or enjoy listening to stories together as you bring up an auditory learning child.
<![CDATA[Kinesthetic Learners]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 04:50:56 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/09/kinesthetic-learners.htmlEffective Tactile Learning Activities to Help Kinesthetic Learners Reduce Learning Frustration
Tactile learning activities can minimize kinesthetic learners stress in a typical learning environment.

Tactile learning preferences children find it stressful when they are made to sit still read and listen in a classroom environment. To relieve the stress, they may resort to action such as frequenting the rest room or get up to sharpen their pencils in the class. While in their seat, they start wriggling their legs, rocking or leaning in their chair. They are frequently mislabeled with attention deficit disorder when such behaviors are deemed unacceptable to parents, teachers or caretakers.
Basically, kinesthetic learners

  • like to feel and handle things
  • have short attention span
  • like activities to keep them moving and doing
  • prefer to show rather than describe things
  • learn best with hands-on; prefer to try things out themselves
They need to engage in activities to learn best.

Math Activities for Kinesthetic Learners

Many daily activities involve math. Take opportunities to turn them into math lessons for kids. Play store, card games and make crafts are just some examples.

Math manipulatives are useful teaching tool.  Tactile learning child touches and builds abstract mathematical concept using concrete material. It makes learning math interesting and enjoyable.

Learn Science with Hands-on Approach

Nothing beat learning science with experiments and activities…kids explore, discover and have lots of fun along the learning process.

No need expensive equipment or science kit if we inject some creativity in designing science experiments and activities. Safe and easy experiments can be carried out with materials we found in kitchen and at home.

Learn to Read for tactile learners

Get active kids to sit down quietly for a reading session can be a challenge, sometimes. Use guided reading activities to encourage reading and help them to form reading habits.

More Tactile Learning Activities

Build Model
lego block for tactile learners
Blocks or LEGO are open-ended toys children of all ages like to play. For older kids, there are airplane, dinosaur, animals and car models. They are versatile and seldom outgrown in a short time.

I am constantly in search for such educational toys. It is worth the investment for our children learning.

Drama and Play
Participate in drama and play provides the chance to use body and movement for expression. This is a wonderful outlet for a kinesthetic child.
Get Outdoor and Explore Nature
Hold lesson in a different setting gives everyone a refreshing learning experience.

Take a stroll around botanic garden. Observe shapes and fruits of trees, collect seeds, touch the leaves, and smell the flowers. Children no longer struggle to recognize trees and flowers from textbook but through actual plants.
shells painting as kinesthetic activities
Go to the beach and play with sand. Learn to write on sand is really fun.

Build sand castle, pick and observe the different shapes and colors of seashells. Children can turn these shells into beautiful art mementoes.

Cooking provides children the knowledge on

  • Volume measurement, sizes, shapes, three-dimensional objects
  • Temperature and time setting, chemical reaction
  • Reading
  • Hand-eye coordination

Kids also pick up life skills by learning how to cook.

<![CDATA[Learning Styles]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 06:47:44 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/08/learning-styles.htmlUnderstand Children Learning Styles and Help Your Child Learn Effectively
Children learning styles and preferences vary. Children learn best when information is presented to them according to their preferences.

As parents, we can help our children to learn effectively if we can discover their learning preferences. Understand each child learning strength and weakness allows us to adopt the appropriate teaching tactics.

Children Learning Styles:

Learning styles are broadly categorized into:
  • Visual learners - learn best from seeing information
  • Auditory learners - learn best from hearing
  • Kinesthetic learners - learn best from doing things i.e. "hands on"
Though most children fit into either one of the category but there are some who is a combination of two styles. Children may shift from one style to another through time as they grow and develop. In general, visual and/or kinesthetic learning preferences are more common.

Discover Child Learning Preferences

You can do a daily observation. Note down some of the signs and reaction when information is presented to your child. Be patient. It may take a while for us to be familiar to the consistent signs from our children. It took me a long time and after many observations to discover my boy learning preferences. I adopt teaching methods and tune in to his styles. It makes teaching and learning more effective for both of us.

What can parents do?

Once we discover our children learning preferences, we can:
  • Set the right expectation with the child.
  • Teach child coping skills.
  • Help child gain confidence using appropriate styles and environment to improve child accomplishment. Helping the child to gain confidence is very important. It sets the fundamental interest in learning.
  • Select school which has staffs who understand learning styles. Adopt such practice can affect child's behavior positively.
  • Schedule appropriate curriculum and learning activities accordingly.

Overcoming Learning Weaknesses

Discover the preferred way our children learn helps to tailor teaching method accordingly. Understanding the weakness of learning style is equally important.

Children with auditory weakness tend to have difficulty following verbal instruction.

My boy was slow in understanding instruction. It was a struggle reading to him. Instead of listening attentively to the story, he would interrupt me with questions on the pictures in the book.

As I begin to understand his weakness, I show him the steps taken to do a task instead of simply giving instruction. Story is told by focusing on the pictures rather than reading from the word.Child with this weakness prefers visual schedule such as pictures or cues instead of verbal instruction.

For children with visual weakness, signs include appearing to be disorganized or disoriented. Such children can be guided using charts, diagrams or graphs.

Kids who either feel bothered by certain texture of things or try their best to touch everything they can get hold may have kinesthetic weakness. Very often such kids are likely to benefit from language-based instruction.

A parent knows her child best. Understand a child learning strengths and weaknesses can make all the difference to help our children learn.
<![CDATA[Math Phobia and Anxiety]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 04:11:05 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/07/math-phobia-and-anxiety.htmlOvercome Kids' Math Phobia and Anxiety to Eliminate Frustration in Learning Math
Math phobia and anxiety may be the underlying cause for kids having difficulty learning math.

Children may find many challenges in the process of learning and understanding mathematical concepts. Every individual child learns at her own pace. Some kids take time to totally acquire the concepts. However, some kids may develop a fear of math.

In order to help children overcome the frustration of learning math, we need to deepen the understanding of HOW a math phobia kid feels. I can fully comprehend this fearful feeling – I had a fear for math during my school days.
math phobia - child fearful of math

How Does a Child Feel Fearful about Math?

  • Feel anxious and nervous about math tests and exams. The mind will turn blank and unable to concentrate to work on math tests.
  • There is a mindset that "I cannot do it". Always feel lack of self-confidence when tackling math questions and problems.
  • Frustrated over how to score or at least get a pass for math. Is the teacher looking for the process of how to derive the answer? Do I get marks for the right process but wrong answers and vice versa?
  • Blindly follows the process or formula of mathematical concepts. Does not understand why sometimes the formula does not work.
  • Have a misconception that girls are not good in math versus boys.
Such feeling can prolong into adulthood. It hinders the learning and progress in mathematics. The child may have to struggle to cope with this weakness throughout her education path if there is no support given or help rendered.

Is Math Phobia a Learning Disability?

In retrospective, I do not believe it is a learning disability. The fear of math is due to lack of understanding of SOME mathematics fundamental concepts. It does not affect the learning of ALL mathematical concepts and facts. There are some math topics the child can still excel. Each individual is different so the topics which post a challenge may differ too.

Can the Fear of Math Affects Learning of other Subjects?

To a certain extent, math anxiety and phobia can affect the learning of other subjects. Many subjects in higher learning such as statistic, finance and physic require mathematics analysis. A math phobia child may get turn off once she knows the study of these subjects involve math.

Is it hereditary?

This is not a hereditary learning disability. It is an acquired perception of fear...probably the child picks up the attitude from parents or teachers. It can be due to unpleasant learning experience.

Suggestions for Parents

If your child is feeling frustrated or dislike math, do find out the fundamental reason why the kid is feeling this way. Look out for sign of anxiety in math tests - your kid has consistently failed badly (such as obtaining 2 out of 100 marks type of failure)

Identify the math topics the child is weak. Work with teachers to ensure the kid understand the “why” and the “how” of mathematical facts and concepts. It is important to build a strong foundation on the basic concept before moving to the next math level.

Have a positive attitude towards math and gives encouragement. This is to help boost the self-confidence of your kid. Dispel the myth that girls are weak in math.

Allow kid to make mistake. Practice on weak topics. Show kid there are many ways to solve math problems.

It is important for parents and teachers to identify if a child has math phobia and anxiety. It is helpful to know there are many researches conducted. Professional help is available if needed.

It is not a doom situation if your child has fear of math. You can help your child to build on other personal strengths and skills instead. Building up one's personal strengths and skills can still get a person to progress well in career and life. But.....never impart this fear of math to your child.

If you do ever have a fear for math, do hold a strong positive attitude towards math with your kid now. Overcome this anxiety and take learning math as a challenge. Work together with your child to solve difficult math word problems. Both of you will feel a sense of satisfaction in overcoming this challenging task.

I no longer fear math anymore. Instead, I enjoy learning math together with my children now. The Singapore Math approach of making math abstract concept concrete has helped many children to set a strong math foundation. It makes teaching and learning math easier for my children and me.
<![CDATA[Teaching Mathematics]]>Tue, 04 Jul 2017 04:34:09 GMThttp://teachkidlearn.com/1/post/2017/07/teaching-mathematics.htmlHow to Help Children Overcome Difficulty in Learning Math
There are several teaching mathematics strategies to help kids understand and interested in math. Teaching math to kids is more than helping them to comprehend mathematical concepts, develop number sense and master math facts.

Why It is Difficult for Kid to Understand and Like Math

There are many challenges a child can face when learning math. Some of the common hurdles are :
board for teaching mathematics to children
  • Children learn “HOW” instead of “WHY” in math. Though practice makes perfect but constant drilling makes it boring for kids.
  • Mathematical concepts can be abstract.
  • Each child has individual learning pace and style. The learning or teaching of math is not child-centered.
  • Children do not know how to approach math problems. They are not taught or encourage using the appropriate thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Learning math disability such as dyscalculia and math anxiety

What Parents Can Do

Begins Math Education at Home
Home and providing the right environment is where learning takes place for children. Jump-start children learning math early by engaging them in informal settings. Begins math education at home makes kids feel that math is an everyday subject.
Parents Involvement
Studies have shown that children can increase achievement when there is parents’ participation in their school or homework. Work with the teacher to achieve common goals for your child. When children see that math is important to you, they will feel it is important to them too.
Most parents who are concern about their kids having difficulty in learning math may already be involved and teaching math at home. In addition to the right home environment and parental involvement, there are other considerations when teaching mathematics to kids.
Attitude towards Math
We need to form a positive attitude, set high standard and strong beliefs towards math. Children will develop similar enthusiasm and attitude thus boosting their self-confidence on learning math.
Child Learning Pace and Style
Each kid learns at his own pace. Ensure the child has a strong foundation on acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills at each level. It helps child to be ready to move on to the next level. If the child is slow, spend more time learning math. Never skip on any level thinking child can play catch up in the next level.

Every child has his preferred learning style. Tune in to his learning preference. Different learning style learn abstract subject differently. Explore different ways when teaching math to kids. Include songs and jingles, math games and activities, use teaching aids and tools. Encourage discussion or work in groups to solve mathematical problems. Make learning fun and practical.
Children may already grasp the basic mathematical concepts but doing problem solving involves more skills. The purpose of learning math is to train kids on analytical, thinking and problem solving skills.

Teaching Mathematics Strategies to Apply:

Understand the “why” in addition to “how”
Avoid emphasizing procedural skills without understanding the underlying concepts. Help children to make connections among mathematical ideas. Be able to reason by analyzing mathematical situations and construct logical arguments. Then communicate using mathematical language to express the ideas and arguments logically, precisely and concisely.
Train Kids on Thinking Skills and Heuristics on Problem Solving
Encourage the usage of thinking skills such as classifying, comparing, analyzing parts; identify patterns in the thinking process. Use heuristics approach on difficult problem solving. Some heuristics include present problems in a diagram, make estimation, work backwards, before-after, restate or simplify the problem.
Approach to Problem Solving
Expose children to many types of mathematical problems. Include open-ended and real-world problems provide opportunities for children to apply their problem solving and reasoning skills.

Show them to solve problems in different ways. Train them to be a problem solver, one who finds, investigates and explores solution to problems.

Suggest children to adopt the following steps for math problem solving
  • Read and understand the problem
  • Underline/Highlight the important information
  • Decide on mathematical operation to apply
  • Estimate
  • Do calculation
  • Inverse calculation to check
  • Write the answer in sentences
If a child is suspect of having learning math disability, math phobia and anxiety, then you may want to get a specialist to evaluate.

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