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3 Ways Math Prepares Students for Long-Term Success

When it comes to the subject of math, there seems to be universal agreement that two groups exist in the classroom: students fascinated by numbers who can integrate them into complex problems seamlessly, and those who get a headache at the thought of a formula. It would be simple to advise the second group to pursue a different career path, but this approach may be a societal misconception rather than an understanding of math education.

Math is not only one of the most critical subjects in school; it’s also a foundation of knowledge that has applications across countless professions. Even in the most artistic of careers, the use of data, critical and analytical thinking, technology and programming is becoming increasingly commonplace. An advanced degree in Urban Education – Mathematics online can equip educators with the skills they need to implement strong math education strategies.

Here are three math education skills that are pivotal for long-term success:

1. Problem solving

Working with formulas is one (archaic) way to practice problem solving, but seeking solutions goes way beyond that. As Veronika Georgieva writes in her article for Medium, “In math, you are given tools (the basic rules) that you later use in problem-solving. Logic, hand in hand with our friend creativity, help you then find the method or methods that would be best used for a given math problem. It teaches your brain how to acquire information, understand it, and use it to create ideas that help you reach your goals.”

Though most do not immediately associate “creativity” with math, finding the paths to solve a math problem, or using math to solve mundane problems, activates the creative part of our brains. We’re able to make connections and think in new ways. This skill is helpful in every career and can serve situations big and small.

2. Growth mindset

Young children’s brains are sponges and they so quickly learn new information, but they need healthy ways to deal with learning barriers. Difficulty understanding math may be one of them, and if teachers and parents do not properly encourage them, their growth mindset could decrease. They might believe that if they have to put in quite a bit of effort into solving a math problem, they’re bad at it.

“To encourage a mathematical mindset, teachers need to provide children with an opportunity to discover mathematics on their own before the teacher introduces strategies and methods,” writes Mary Dournaee for Minds in Bloom. “This develops a child’s intuitive number sense and problem solving abilities. Teachers can also ask children for multiple strategies to solving real world example problems.”

3. Critical thinking

A curious student can become an extremely creative and original professional. Successful leaders and thinkers seek new solutions, do not take common knowledge or the status quo for granted. Additionally, but these types of individuals also become better friends and partners. Math encourages students to think critically about the world around them, which fosters empathy and positivity as new solutions appear on the horizon.

Animator, software engineer, epidemiologist, architect and geologist are just a few professions that use math in obvious and non-obvious ways. A math teacher who encourages students to explore their potential through the subject can significantly change a young person’s path towards success.

Learn more about Norfolk State University’s online Master of Arts in Urban Education – Mathematics program.

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