3 Tips for Middle Primary Mathematics
When it comes to subject learning, Maths is in a league of its own. It requires a specific skillset when approaching questions, involves formulas and symbols, and a vocabulary unique to the subject alone. As a result, what students need to score for their Mathematics examination papers would be entirely different from, say, an English examination paper.
As it is with every subject students are being tested for in primary school, and subsequently the PSLE, there is no one correct way to study and no one way to excel. There are, however, a few important tips, skills, and concepts that your child needs to know in order to do well in Math.
It isn’t possible to excel nor become proficient at maths by watching the news, reading or listening – which is what almost every teacher will tell you to do when you’re looking to get your child to improve in a subject like English, Mandarin, Malay or Tamil.
Maths requires constant practice and active doing. Therefore, encourage your child to complete his or her homework and assignments set by their teacher at school. It would be much more difficult to reinforce an understanding of concepts and skills taught in class if your child does not put them into practice.
Know the basics
Maths is a subject that requires you to keep building on what you know or have learnt before. Therefore, it is fundamental for your child to create a strong foundation to be able to support what he or she learns as they get older, and as concepts get more advanced and complex.
This is probably the reason why parents notice their children falling behind more easily when they miss out lessons – especially now, when testing positive for Covid-19 can keep a child away from school for several days. Where it may be possible to cram for tests or exams in other academic subjects, this wouldn’t help very much when it comes to tests or exams in maths.
It is quite common to see students spend countless hours studying maths. While extremely commendable, it’s not feasible in the long run especially when the number of subjects your child takes will increase over the years that he or she will spend at school. A big mistake is when children think that they can memorise steps to solve equations and dedicate a sizeable chunk of time doing just that.
So, study smart, and make sure your child understands and gets their basics right. It’s just that much easier to score well when there is a rock-solid foundation in place.
Get some help
Encourage your child to ask for help if he or she needs it. It is better to get help early in the game before concepts get too advanced and your child may be overwhelmed by it all.
Support your child in asking questions in class. Often, children are afraid to voice out their doubts for fear of appearing slow or silly in class, but chances are that if he or she does not understand a concept, lots of other students would not be able to understand it either.
Offer your child a way out if it is really difficult for him or her to stop and ask the teacher to clarify issues in class. Tell your child to approach the teacher outside of class or to look to his or her classmates for help. It is good when children know that their classmates are learning together with them as well. This helps them foster an interest in the subject.
“But I’m just not good at maths!” your child might protest.
To which we reply: Maths needs routine practice and as much learning as possible.
“But it’s so boring!” your child might further insist.
And we say: Sometimes, all it takes is the right teacher.