Top 5 Reasons Why Students Struggle With Maths

Difficulties with maths can come to light at any stage of a child’s schooling. Most students struggle with certain maths concepts at some point and for many, the problem goes beyond a few core concepts. It’s an ongoing problem that stops them from understanding maths most of the time.

Here are the top 5 reasons why children have difficulty with maths:

1. Not understanding the relevance of maths in real life
Students who battle with fractions often have no problem understanding that half of R100 is R50, but may have trouble understanding how to convert the fraction ½ to the decimal 0.50. For this reason, learners must gain an understanding of how a particular maths concept relates to real life.

2. Lack of concentration in class
When a Math problem involves a multi-step solution, students often lose focus and become distracted during the lesson. Important steps in the problem-solving process are missing and students later struggle with maths when trying to complete problems on their own.


3. Maths always builds upon previous concepts
Maths concepts are like building blocks; the foundation must be laid before moving forward. If a student does not fully understand a concept covered in a previous lesson, newer concepts will be more difficult to master. The student will toil away without fully realizing why they are behind when others seem to be making progress.

4. Lack of practice
Students will easily follow their teacher as a maths problem is solved in class but may find that it can be a lot more challenging when trying the same thing at home. Many students simply don’t spend enough time practicing maths concepts and there’s unfortunately no quick shortcut to learning maths. Lots of practice is required and tutors can help by identifying the gaps that need extra work.

5. Maths concepts are covered in class, but not fully understood
All students learn differently and it’s not possible to cover every student’s unique learning style in a large classroom. Students can perform the operation learned from repetition, but don’t really understand the meaning behind it. For this reason, many learners benefit from visual representations, such as using small objects like paperclips or coins to learn multiplication and division. One-on-one tutoring can really help those who need revision with maths concepts.

Maths is one of the few disciplines where success is attainable by all students. Research shows that while natural ability will give some students an advantage, maths is really just about practice. This means everyone can do well at maths, despite what they might believe, and the most important factor in maths success is having a positive attitude about the subject.

Sources: Understood; MisUnderstoodMinds; Oxford Learning.

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