Math is not different from the other social studies and hence, as a teacher you need to come up with something that will drive the students to dig deep and create a solid foundation for the subject and a keen interest in math. As a teacher, you will have to keep in mind that the project you are trying to incorporate into the mainstream textual studies must be small, interesting and do-able. This will provide an authentic presentation of the results and the students will not develop a sense of dislike for the subject as a whole.

An important message that you need to keep in mind is that bribing the students with rewards like candies or stickers will do some good to the students in the short term. However, when the broader scenario is scrutinized, it is found that these non-relevant and extrinsic rewards actually hurt the learning mechanism because the students develop the thought that math is a subject that is not worth spending time on. This is because the candies and the extrinsic gifts look like motivational factors which try to boost their interest for something inherently and genetically uninteresting!

Studies reveal that programs for high school math are welcomed by the students when a sense of team work is developed and when the teacher himself gets engaged in the development of the team spirit. If you look into this as an act of cheating, nothing is helpful! A collective effort for data collection or survey building helps the students to comprehend the program in a better way. This has been shown over and over again reinforced by the results or the outcome of team tasks versus individual tasks. This sense of team work or pairing up can require years to develop and as a teacher, you will have to be a part of the development map throughout.

It is no longer relevant to give homework which is based on the ideology of “more is better”. The math curriculum for high schools in United States is extremely diverse but as a teacher, or parent it is your duty to cover everything without skipping a topic or two once in awhile. Instead, you need to selectively pick up the important pieces at the start of the year and when you teach a concept, you need to teach that in depth. Cutting short the behemoth textbook into a significantly small but relevant curriculum will reduce the homework burden for the students and will help them to develop the idea that “math is not difficult”.

Embed strategy building or model thinking in your students. You need to put up a complex problem and then instead of diving right into the solution, ask your students to develop strategies which they can use to solve the problem in hand. This leads to intuitive thinking and students start thinking from different possible angles which is by far one of the basic requirements of learning math properly. Model thinking develops interest in the students and they no longer feel that math is a boring big monster that they need to deal with.

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