Recently I went to BayanihanPost.com to get a “feel” of what kind of website is inviting me to join its bloggers’ group. What grabs my attention was Renita Angus’ post, advocating the importance of mathematics as a tool and as a subject not to be dreaded by students. As a math teacher, her frustration towards students’ fear of numbers is understandable. And as an engineer myself, I can clearly see her point of view.

I came from a family of engineers and accountant. Numbers don’t intimidate me and to borrow Senator Santiago’s phrase “We eat numbers for breakfast”. My knowledge of mathematics is adequate enough to meet head on mathematical problems I encounter in my line of work. But do we really have to prioritize math from the rest of other subjects?

Some people are gifted with minds attuned to numbers. They can do double integration easy, like eating a piece of cake. These are the ones who eventually choose professions related to science. They become scientists, engineers and architects. Others possess sophisticated ears and eyes that they can see and hear beauty from thin air, capture and reproduce it for others to enjoy and appreciate. These are visual artists and musicians, people who may appreciate mathematics only through sine waves and fractal images. Still there are those who possess photographic memories or organizational skill but can barely grasp abstract concepts of numbers, yet still succeed in becoming good lawyers or managers. A nurse may have to compute exact dosage of medication or a baker may need to know the number of cups of sugar in a recipe. But they don’t have to hurdle the whole 9 yards, from Algebra to Calculus, to achieve this. A simple arithmetic will suffice.

I agree we can’t live without mathematics. Like Neo’s “Matrix”, it’s around us. Its part of our daily lives, so familiar that we take it for granted. It’s the basic foundation of our infrastructure and the backbone of inventions which helps eases domestic living. But we are also living in an age where gigabits of information are bombarded to us everyday. Science is progressing and technology is advancing at an overwhelming rate that it can’t be contained in one repository. It has to be divided into fields, branching out into sub-fields called specialization.

Not all of us could be engineers, lawyers or doctors. We are not born equal. Some are better than others, may it be in material form, talent, skill or physical structure. If we are to assume each man is capable of acquiring all of these, then politicians don’t need speech writers to mesmerize his constituents. Businessmen don’t need accountants to balance their books. Art, music and literature won’t be appreciated, philosophy would be meaningless and humanity will cease to exist. All that is left is a cold, calculating brain, devoid of emotion, dependent on logic.

That’s why holistic method of education has its appeal. It identifies, develop and encourage students’ inclination and strong point. I believed students will have a better chance in the real world and live productive lives if they love their chosen field and happy with their work. Wouldn’t it be better if we teach the majority what is only necessary and leave challenging subjects to those who has the patience and gift of understanding complicated ideas? That way they will have more time to discover and study things that interest them, rather than master a concept which only a fraction can be practically applied in their daily life.

I always thought that I hated Math. But turns out I had the Best in Math award when I was in elementary. Bwahaha. =) Then in highschool, we had an elective subject. Instead of Values Education, it was replaced by Advanced Algebra. I felt I hated it. But turned out my grades cooperated again.

ReplyDeleteFinally when I was about to go to college, I promised myself I'll stay away from numbers. But as I've blogged about it months ago, I bizarrely ended up in Accountancy. Well, it's not full of numbers in a mathematical way, but it's more of figures and financial analysis. Haha, I hated numbers. But they love me. =)

i too used to handle review centers for entrance exams to ateneo, la salle and other schools. i share the same sentiment. teaching math to students who already have a different and fearful mindset about math is disturbing.

ReplyDeletei think partly because teachers of their previous math subjects caused a lot of fear, which shouldn't be the best way.

there's a lot of way to make math more interesting but it needs some effort.

math math math...

ReplyDeletefavorite subject ko!

kaya di tulad ni witsandnuts,di ako favorite ng math.he he he

Early education has to introduce us to the various fields where we may find ourselves more adept in or more attuned to. that's why it's fine for me to subject elementary and high school students to the challenge of facing advanced mathematics. but when one steps into college, already with a defined study goal, there should be no more pressure to study those which he will never use anyway. Like me, I have yet to remember any instance after college when I had to make trigonometry, physics, chemistry calculations. Sayang lang yung inaral ko. :-)

ReplyDeleteMs.Jo, you have an affinity with numbers. Either you don't realize it before or tamad ka lang.

ReplyDeletedonG, IMO, entrance examination should vary according to what course students intend to take.

ever, except for daVinci, I don't know any past painters and composers who excel in math.

R-yo, IMO, the extent of teaching math in hischool should stop in Analytic Geometry. Differential and Integral Calculus plus Advance Mathematics should only be taught to those who pursue the Sciences and Engineering fields.

I remember when I was in elementary, everyone in the class seemed to be at ease with Math, I wasn't. Come high school, it was never my favorite subject too, I cheated when there were quizzes, yes, when the problems don't seem to cooperate with my mind, the worst was when we were all given Trigonometry in my 4th year, it was disgusting. In college, I had a 4.0 in Calculus, the engineer teacher I had gave me a pitiful stare, had me take another exam, then he gave a 3.0, haha, those were the days when I hated hated Math, now I am an editor, i busy myself with English structures and other wordy stuffs, but as a mom and a wife, Maths is when I do my budgeting. I guess we all need even just a little Maths in our lives.

ReplyDeletewhen i was in high school and college i didnt fear math but i didnt love it either. I can probably be grouped to those who understand math but are bored to death by it. The closest i was to being interested in math was when we had age problems in algebra. and when i learned about numerology which isnt math anyways :)

ReplyDeleteThese days elementary and high school student are learning math the way we never did before,harder and more complicated,that is why many math tutoring schools are mushrooming everywhere (like Kumon),I wish when my son reaches High school he will not ask me to help him with his math homeworks aaahh...

ReplyDelete"the engineer teacher I had gave me a pitiful stare, had me take another exam, then he gave a 3.0, haha, "

ReplyDeletesheng, nakadinggoy ka run ano?

Ako naman, my Algerbra and Chem teachers are "magkumare". They always compare notes and Ma'm Algebra was shocked to found out I got 1.5 in Chemistry while I'm failing her class. Since she couldn't accept that her kumare is a much better teacher, she ask me why. I told her the truth. I said I don't study both subjects. I only listen and absurb lectures. Since Algebra is my first subject in the morning at 7AM. I often slept in her class. She gave me a re-take and I got a 3.0.

kiko, a lot feared math, some are bored with it. Others like to discover its secret but find it difficult, while a few knew the way but to lazy to pursue it. I guess math is not for everybody.

BTW, thanks for visiting my blog.

ed v., bakit nakalimutan mo na? Kahit ako, I forgot some of subject na, especially yung "identities" sa trigonometry. Kailangan mag "refresher" tayo. : )

ReplyDeleteIt's very difficult for me to enjoy my Math subjects in school before! During college my goal was just to pass all my Math-related subjects, and i did! I got the lowest passing grade in Algebra and Trigonometry. =,(

ReplyDeleteBut my Pharmacology and Animal Production subjects inevitably needed Math! Whew! I survived amidst the challenges.

During my brief veterinary practice in the Philippines, I realized that I needed to face some basic Mathematical/Statistical formulas and equations, especially in applied Epidemiology and Animal Production. Finding "x" was always there, I'm glad Algebra was included in our curriculum!

Here in Australia, while I'm still struggling to get some important credentials for my profession, basic knowledge in Arithmetic will do. Though my work has been physically exhausting, my mind has been pleasurably relaxing! Not bad.

This entry is cool!

RJ, IMO, authorities should study and pinpoint what part of mathematics could be taught to the majority of courses. What's Calculus good for, say, to an accountant when all the they used are the four basic symbols (+, -, /, X) di ba?

ReplyDeleteblogusbox I guess so,The only thing I can remember is that my pretty Math teacher in college who always wore sexy tubes when teaching,And when she asked us " class is my point clear?" everybody will shout back "yes maam the two points are very clear"he he he....

ReplyDeletefunny, when i was in elementary, i used to hate numbers. then i failed math only to realize how much sense numbers actually made. hehehehe. i was actually awarded best in math by the end of the year. yes, ganun ako natakot. hahaha!

ReplyDeleteed v., I could understand why you couldn't concentrate in class. : )

ReplyDeletecaryn, kailangan pala sayo brasohan para ilabas mo ang "natural" talent mo ano. : )

ay uu nga!,si davinci lang ang maituturing na mathematician and painter sa kanilang dekada...

ReplyDeleteever, hindi lang mathematician at painter si daVinci, isa rin syang sculptor, inventor, architect, scientist at pagkakaalam ko ay isa rin syang composer.

ReplyDeleteMaraming pumapasok na idea sa utak nya na kung minsan hindi nya natatapos ang isang "project" at mag sisimula na naman ng panibago.

math used to be my waterloo. i found it difficult but i didn't give up just yet. i took an engineering course in college to face my fears (of numbers). i stayed for 2 years but unfortunately, it dawned on me that it's not really my cup of tea. hehehe, palusot ba? i ended up finishing a business degree. there's still math alright i.e. accounting. but it's the math that has a story in it. abstract math like calculus, etc lulls me to sleep. :D

ReplyDeleteI'm not that crazy about Math but I realize its importance in our daily lives. I'm not that good in it as compared to most of my relatives. Thus, in order to get good grades, I had to go back and re-solve all equations and problems discussed in class from the beginning of the semester.

ReplyDeleteI remember being good in numbers only while I can follow the lesson. I see patterns easily. HOwever, the problem arises when I had to be absent and miss a single lesson. That is where the trouble comes in. I am completely lost.

ReplyDeleteGarner has realized that people tick in different ways, hence, his famous multiple intelligences. I believe that the basic taught in high school can never be sufficient because education's thrust is making the students learn everything to the point of forcing the different skills down the students' throats. I would like to see a school where certain areas are focused on students' interests.

teka nga mukhang pareho kami ni da vinci..ha ha ha.joke lang po.tao lang.(nangarap ba.)

ReplyDeleteMari, nalagpasan mo ang critical stage ng Engineering. Math is taught in the first two years of that degree. Not bad no?

ReplyDeletePanaderos, you yourself said that Math is not your forte. But look at you right now. We don't have to master that concept to reach our goal, di ba?

Ka Rolly, pareho tayo, tamad din akong magbasa noon. I only listen to lecture. So if I miss one lesson, patay.

ever, walang masama kung mangarap, basta may kakayahan at determinasyon. Sa palagay ko, meron ka lahat ng katangiang yan.

ReplyDeleteThe sad thing about mathematics is its misuse of the local TV News Network. These are the newscasters or should I say newscrafters who are sidelining as TV comedians in their own time slot.I find most of them are inserting ad libs while reading the news. How can the networks owners claim that it's for the people's right to know if they are distorting the numbers.

ReplyDeleteWhat I mean is they should have a respect for numbers.

trosp, you mean distorting figures to suit their own agenda? Not only them, even corporations do that to project a good year for the company.

ReplyDelete