What Is Positive Math Talk?

Mathematics is one of the subjects that has been stereotyped as difficult and uninteresting, which has resulted in a general dislike for it. This notion is so prevalent that North America has turned into a society of people who think it’s cool, hip, and even trendy to hate math. 

Countless students would rather skip school than attend a math class where they will have to learn math operations or equations. However, math is an essential skill that helps individuals in their everyday lives, from simple activities such as counting change to complex problem-solving skills required in various professions. The hate of math, mainly perpetuated by society, can hinder progress both personally and globally. However, with a better understanding of the importance of math, the fear and hatred of this subject can gradually decrease.

The Good News

The good news is that in recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on the importance of having positive conversations with young mathematicians to help counteract the negative feeling towards mathematics. Positive math talk is an approach to teaching mathematics that emphasizes building a positive attitude towards math and problem-solving by using language that encourages students to think positively and be open to trying new things.

By promoting positive math talk, educators and parents can create an environment where children feel comfortable taking risks and asking questions without fear of being judged or punished. Studies have shown that when teachers use more positive statements in their classrooms, students tend to have better attitudes toward math and experience less anxiety about the subject.

How To Speak Positively

As parents or caregivers, we often unintentionally use language around math that can have negative effects on our children’s attitudes toward the subject. Instead of asking if math homework is difficult or if they hate math, reframing our phrasing to focus on growth and effort can be helpful. 

Positive math talk can come in many forms, including open-ended questioning techniques, encouraging productive dialogue between parent/teacher and student, offering praise for successful attempts at problem-solving, and providing helpful feedback when mistakes are made. 

Asking how a child approached a problem or what strategies they used can encourage a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities to learn and improve. Using phrases like “math is fun” and “you can do this” can foster a positive attitude towards math and set our children up for success. 

Some easy examples of positive math talk to start with are:

Instead of: I was never good at math. 
Try: Let’s try to learn this together.

Instead of: You will never use this math in real life.
Try: This math is teaching you good problem-solving skills.

Instead of: I hate math.
Try: This isn’t my favourite topic, but I enjoy a good challenge. 

Instead of: You should be getting this.
Try: Let’s take a break and try again. 

The key point of positive math talk is that its goal is not necessarily to make every student a math genius; rather, it is meant to foster a healthy attitude towards mathematics among all students regardless of skill level or interest in the subject. It seeks to make learning enjoyable so that each individual has something valuable he or she can take away from it. 

Positive math talk also helps create an environment where everyone feels free to discuss different approaches and make mistakes without feeling judged or criticized for doing so. This allows for creativity and experimentation, ultimately leading to more meaningful learning experiences.

Children Can Pick Up Parent’s Math Anxiety

For many parents, math can be a touchy subject that brings up feelings of anxiety and stress. However, it’s important to remember that our children often pick up on these emotions and can develop their own negative attitudes toward math. It’s crucial to take deliberate steps to prevent this from happening. 

Whether it’s finding a math tutoring company or attending parent-teacher conferences, investing in our children’s math education can help break the cycle of anxiety and make math a more positive experience for all.

At Dropkick Math Academy, we provide a unique environment for parents to participate actively in their child’s learning experience and encourage them to learn together. 

As a parent, being involved in the learning process helps create a more meaningful experience for your child and encourages them to take ownership of their education. Dropkick Math Academy gives parents the resources to join in along and support their children during the classes and monitor progress throughout the program.

Education experts have found that parental involvement leads to higher grades, improved behaviour in school, and greater education aspirations for the child. Additionally, parents play a crucial role in instilling essential values like hard work, determination, and self-discipline. We also help parents use positive math talk so they can ensure they are not passing on any math anxiety they may have. 

Be Mindful Of The Words Used

By utilizing positive conversations with young mathematicians, educators and parents can help create an environment where everyone feels comfortable attempting challenging problems without fear of failure or negative consequences associated with making mistakes. 

While some degree of structure must still be maintained within this context, such as ensuring accuracy during problem-solving tasks and following directions from the teacher carefully – focusing on building strong relationships through positive interaction provides real advantages when helping children learn mathematics effectively.

At Dropkick Math, we provide programs for students in grades 4 – 9, including all abilities. Our instructors are passionate about making math fun and assisting students in understanding the importance of this subject. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your child succeed in math with our math learning techniques. 

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