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Why Is Math Difficult For Students?

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    It's no secret that many kids struggle with mathematics since its concepts are abstract and difficult to grasp. Despite the fact that some pupils may thrive in arithmetic, for others, it can be a major source of stress and worry.

    There are a number of reasons why students may struggle in mathematics. One reason is that some people struggle with arithmetic because it demands them to use abstract reasoning and logical thinking.

    In addition, many calculations in this area depend on the precise application of complex formulas and equations; a single error in any of them could have catastrophic consequences.

    Mathematically challenged students may have difficulty grasping more complex ideas because they lack the background knowledge required or because they have difficulty memorising large amounts of material.

    For many students, math is one of the more difficult topics they must take.

    Some students may have trouble grasping the concepts, while others may struggle with the mathematical abilities required to do the required calculations.

    In this post, I'll explain why some kids have trouble with arithmetic and give them some pointers for getting better at the subject.

    The method by which math is taught may also contribute to its perceived complexity.

    Not all kids will benefit from the same instructional strategies, which might result in misunderstanding and frustration.

    In sum, it's crucial to investigate why some kids struggle with mathematics if we're to develop effective strategies and instructional approaches that will enable all students to achieve success in this vital subject.

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    Teaching maths

    But, one's perspective on the wider picture also plays a role.

    It's to be expected that there will be divergent opinions on any topic; hence, it's not surprising that how people learn is also up for discussion.

    Yet, many theorists believe that different persons have innately distinct levels of mathematical comprehension.

    Researchers in the field of neuroscience have hypothesised that those who think analytically and exclusively with their left hemisphere have a more piecemeal understanding of the world, while those who think artistically and intuitively with their right hemisphere are more attuned to the big picture.

    They "take in" a lot of data at once and let it "sink in" before acting on it.

    Students who are more left-brained than right-brained may find it easier to grasp abstract ideas.

    But, as time passes, a student who is right-hemisphere dominant may begin to feel confused and behind in their studies.

    Math as an Integrated Subject

    Due to the fact that mathematical knowledge is acquired through time, it might be compared to a stockpile of bricks. Having a firm grounding in one area is necessary before moving on to "build upon" another.

    Mathematical literacy begins with the fundamentals of addition and multiplication, which are taught to children in early education.

    The fundamentals of mathematics that we've established. Students then spend their formative years of middle school learning about mathematical expressions and procedures.

    Before moving on to more advanced material, students need time to let the previously learned concepts "set" in their minds and become more firmly imprinted.

    One of the main causes of the significant issue during the middle school-to-high school transition is students moving up a grade or topic before they're ready.

    If a student graduates from middle school with a C average, they have learned and remembered only half as much as they should have. 

    A grade of C is good enough in their book.

    If the parents don't see that their kids haven't fully mastered the material, they're setting them up for failure in high school and college.

    Teachers cannot possibly spend time and effort on each individual student to guarantee that they will fully grasp every idea presented to them.

    Students move on to the next level on an unsteady foundation of knowledge.

    The building will be severely constrained by an unstable base, and there is a serious chance that the entire structure will collapse at some point.

    What can we learn from this?

    If a student is struggling with arithmetic and gets a grade of C or worse, they should take the time to examine the material thoroughly to ensure they are able to pick up the concepts they will need in the future.

    You should engage a tutor to help you review the topic whenever you find out that you have suffered in a math class.

    Common Sources of Math Difficulties

    Maths Anxiety

    Math anxiety is more than just a dislike of mathematics; for students with math anxiety, the topic actually causes them to feel helpless and inadequate.

    Most importantly, their minds freeze up, and they forget everything they've learned because of the nervousness and lack of self-confidence they have while dealing with arithmetic.

    Dyscalculia

    Children with dyscalculia have a learning disability that makes it hard for them to understand mathematical concepts like equations, geometric structures, and numerical sequences.

    They have a harder time understanding and processing mathematical concepts as a result.

    Most of the time, this leads to kids lagging significantly behind their peers in mathematics and having difficulties with numerical concepts that cannot be overcome with repetition and drill.

    Poor Foundation

    Difficulty with mathematics may not always be the result of a poor intelligence. The foundational skills in mathematics are lacking for many pupils who struggle in the subject.

    It's likely that these pupils' grades dropped because they fell behind in a unit or were pushed ahead to more complex content before they were ready.

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    Why Do Many Students Have Math Problems?

    Difficulty in Understanding

    It's important to have a strong conceptual foundation to succeed in mathematics. The most profound learning occurs when students are able to relate what they are learning to their own experiences.

    Unfortunately, something can remain simple even as mathematics becomes increasingly complicated.

    This means that many students need to put in more time and effort in order to fully grasp more advanced maths.

    Objective Learning

    Math is one of the few disciplines where mistakes cannot be tolerated while working. Your kid is either wilfully ignorant or fully cognisant of their actions.

    That's why a lot of students complain about mathematics being too difficult for them.

    Because mathematical knowledge is built upon previous understanding, it is said to be a cumulative field. So, your youngster must master the basics before going on to more advanced concepts.

    If your kid starts falling behind in one area of growth, they can have trouble grasping other complicated ideas if they don't have the prerequisite background knowledge.

    Students Think Math Is Hard

    Students anticipate difficulty, and they find it to be so.

    This is a perfect illustration of how beliefs can come to be realised. Students who anticipate mathematics to be difficult are more likely to abandon up when they encounter difficulties.

    A negative outlook like this can swiftly spiral into a downward spiral of self-doubt, lack of drive, and subpar achievements.

    Memorising Before Understanding

    Many students see mathematics as a topic in which they must rote-learn formulas and concepts without ever really learning what they mean.

    That could be effective at first, but as students progress through their education and are faced with more difficult challenges, they will quickly learn that they are ill-equipped to handle them.

    Despite their familiarity with the process, many students struggle to articulate the relevance of repetition.

    Learning one's multiplication tables, for instance, was and remained an integral part of the curriculum for elementary school students.

    Many students find it beneficial to employ visual representations, such as utilising little objects to demonstrate the principles of multiplication and division, while they are first learning these skills.

    It's common knowledge that every kid learns in their own unique way, and that it might be difficult to cater to such a wide variety of techniques in a single classroom.

    Those who are having difficulty with mathematics might tremendously benefit from one-on-one tutoring.

    It Will Take A Lot Of Practice

    Students rarely "understand" mathematics on the first try; rather, it is something that develops with repeated practice and effort. Because many children find arithmetic boring, encouraging them to practise their skills can be difficult.

    Without sufficient practice, students may struggle to keep up with the material being taught to them since they have not yet learned the basics.

    Issues with Focusing Attention

    Many mathematical problems have more than one solution, requiring students to follow a sequence of steps in order to reach a conclusion. Not only that, but you should keep your mind from wandering while you work.

    Teachers report that students have a hard time keeping their attention on the task at hand when lecturing them on difficult mathematical methods.

    Because of this, students risk skipping important steps in the problem-solving process, which can lead to future difficulties in mathematics and working out issues on their own.

    Your youngster needs to pay close attention, focus intently, and meticulously follow each step of the procedure when attempting to solve a math problem.

    If they let themselves get sidetracked or lose focus at any stage, they are much more likely to make a mistake and will have to start over until they get the right answer.

    If your child keeps making the same mistakes in arithmetic, they may lose confidence and enthusiasm in the subject. This is especially true if they feel they are lagging behind their peers.

    Math Is Based on Sequential Learning

    Students who haven't thoroughly grasped a prior lesson's material will struggle to keep up when additional concepts are introduced.

    Students need to know division before they can reduce fractions; to feel at ease with algebra, they need to be able to conduct multi-step arithmetic; and so on.

    Unfortunately, many students who are struggling with mathematics refrain from approaching their teachers for help once the class has moved on to a new topic.

    Like blocks, the basis of a mathematical concept must be created before moving on to more advanced ideas.

    A lack of a solid mathematical background might cause a kid to struggle in school, and they may not even realise why they are falling behind their peers.

    Lack Of Practice Or Patience

    A significant number of students do not devote sufficient time to the practice of mathematical concepts.

    Some students might not be aware that they require additional time to review particular topics.

    There are times when students have the impression that they comprehend a concept; however, when they attempt to solve a problem on their own, they are at a loss for where to start (or end up struggling through the process).

    Students often report feeling more confident after watching their teacher explain the lesson in class, only to discover that actually putting the lesson into practice can be a great deal more difficult.

    Math is not something that can be picked up quickly and easily; rather, it calls for a lot of practice and perseverance on the student's part.

    As tutors, one of our primary goals is to help students "close the learning gaps" that have been identified between their current level and the level they should be at.

    Lack Of Understanding

    The beginning of many math classes consists of the instructor posing a mathematical problem to the students and guiding them through a series of step-by-step solutions to assist them in solving the problem.

    Your child may feel more comfortable attempting to solve a problem on his or her own after observing the teacher use a particular strategy to successfully solve a problem.

    However, when they are faced with a problem that is more difficult, they may realise that they did not fully comprehend the method that was presented to them in the classroom.

    Your child's self-assurance may suffer as a result of this. It's possible that they won't even tell their teacher about it because they're too embarrassed to admit that they didn't understand the method.

    Another common reason your child may have difficulty understanding a particular mathematical concept is because of an absence from school caused by things like vacations or sick days.

    It is possible that they will experience feelings of being left behind and will find it more challenging to learn mathematics than their classmates if they do not have the opportunity to make up for the learning that they have missed and cannot catch up.

    Difficulties and Disabilities in Learning

    Teachers often succeed in inspiring their students to reach their full potential, but a traditional classroom setting may not be optimal for all students.

    Children with dyslexia, who are sometimes referred to as neurodivergent, may have trouble reading and comprehending arithmetic issues or word problems.

    Your child may have trouble focusing and feeling comfortable engaging in school arithmetic activities if he or she also has autism or another form of neurodivergent condition on the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) spectrum.

    If you think your child is having difficulty in school and that this is harming their math grades, you should talk to their math teacher or the school's principal.

    To help your child succeed academically, many schools provide individualised study plans that can assess his or her weaknesses and then develop a plan of study designed to help students reach their full potential.

    Lack Of Patience

    It takes more time and effort to become proficient in mathematics than in most other academic subjects because of the complexity of mathematical problem-solving, which often entails the use of a range of different multi-step techniques.

    Some children have difficulty maintaining their patience when performing mathematical calculations because they become bored when they have to repeat the same steps repeatedly.

    Your child will benefit greatly from learning patience, but you should also provide them opportunities to practise math with engaging and enjoyable activities.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    There are several reasons why a child may be having problems with maths at school, from low motivation caused by maths anxiety to a poor understanding of how to apply and perform mathematical operations.

    Some students dislike maths because they think it's not very interesting. They don't get excited about numbers and formulas the way they get excited about history, science, languages, or other subjects that are easier to connect to personally. Instead, they see maths as abstract and irrelevant figures that are difficult to understand.

    Demonstrate slow or inaccurate recall of basic arithmetic facts; answer problems impulsively, without inhibition; have difficulty representing mathematical concepts mentally; have poorly developed number sense.

    There are, of course, actual maths disabilities, the most prominent being dyscalculia. It essentially means that the parts of your brain that do maths for you do not function properly, resulting in you not comprehending maths problems. Often called maths dyslexia, it supposedly affects 6-7% of the population.

    The deadlines that timed tests to impose on students make them feel anxious. It leads them to forget concepts they have no problem remembering at home. Moreover, since these tests can hurt grades, the student's fear of failure is confirmed.

    Conclusion

    Many students struggle with mathematics because of its abstract and challenging concepts. Many students have trouble with mathematics because they have trouble with abstract reasoning, logic, or memorisation of large amounts of information. It's possible that the way mathematics is typically taught is also a factor in students' impressions of the subject's difficulty. Finding out why some students have difficulty with mathematics and providing them with advice on how to improve is crucial for developing effective strategies and instructional approaches.

    The ability to understand mathematics varies from person to person, with those who think primarily in the left hemisphere having a more fragmented view of the world and those who think primarily in the right hemisphere being more attuned to the whole. Students need time to let the concepts they have learned so far "set" in their minds and become more permanently imprinted if they are to achieve mathematical literacy, which begins with the basics of addition and multiplication. Students skipping a grade or topic before they are ready is a major contributor to the problem that arises when students move from middle school to high school.

    Content Summary

    • It's no secret that many kids struggle with mathematics since its concepts are abstract and difficult to grasp.
    • Despite the fact that some pupils may thrive in arithmetic, for others, it can be a major source of stress and worry.
    • There are a number of reasons why students may struggle in mathematics.
    • For many students, math is one of the more difficult topics they must take.
    • Some students may have trouble grasping the concepts, while others may struggle with the mathematical abilities required to do the required calculations.
    • The method by which math is taught may also contribute to its perceived complexity.
    • Not all kids will benefit from the same instructional strategies, which might result in misunderstanding and frustration.
    • It's to be expected that there will be divergent opinions on any topic; hence, it's not surprising that how people learn is also up for discussion.
    • Researchers in the field of neuroscience have hypothesised that those who think analytically and exclusively with their left hemisphere have a more piecemeal understanding of the world, while those who think artistically and intuitively with their right hemisphere are more attuned to the big picture.
    • Students who are more left-brained than right-brained may find it easier to grasp abstract ideas.
    • Mathematical knowledge is acquired through time, it might be compared to a stockpile of bricks.
    • Mathematical literacy begins with the fundamentals of addition and multiplication, which are taught to children in early education.
    • Students then spend their formative years of middle school learning about mathematical expressions and procedures.
    • Before moving on to more advanced material, students need time to let the previously learned concepts "set" in their minds and become more firmly imprinted.
    • One of the main causes of the significant issue during the middle school-to-high school transition is students moving up a grade or topic before they're ready.
    • If the parents don't see that their kids haven't fully mastered the material, they're setting them up for failure in high school and college.

     

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