Think You're 'Bad at Math'? You're Just Being Lazy
Americans fall back on that tired phrase, instead of working harder: Allison Schraeger
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2013 12:03 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Americans have a lousy mindset when it comes to math education, writes economist Allison Schraeger in Quartz. When a student starts doing poorly, we too often shrug it off, say some people just aren't cut out for math, and allow the kid to focus on something else. But you know what that student really needs? More math classes, writes Schraeger. Sure, learning math can be difficult, but "the challenge is getting American students and teachers to push themselves."

As the results from yet another study make clear, Americans continue to bring up the rear in math skills. More classes and better-trained teachers are part of the solution, but so is ridding ourselves of this lazy attitude. It's time "to rethink our approach to math, for all students—and discourage use of the expressions 'good at math' or 'bad at math,'" writes Schraeger. "They only serve as an excuse to underperform." Click for her full column.

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Showing 3 of 51 comments
Timothy Fak
Jan 1, 2016 3:49 AM CST
While there may be some truth to the notion that societal attitudes contribute to student performance, it's simply ludicrous to suggest that people don't have aptitudes for certain things and a lack of aptitude for others. I'm not good at math more complex than basic arithmetic. I wanted to be. I studied for hours upon hours, had additional tuition for most of my school career and still barely managed to squeak by in many of my math classes, even in college. I know people with an aptitude for math who struggle with other subjects I'm good with.
Outrageous
Oct 14, 2013 10:31 AM CDT
I can do Math problems in my sleep, but can't memorize a 100-line poem to save my life, no matter how hard I try. This article is bunk.
RC_Reader
Oct 13, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
I do think laziness contributes to problems with math, in the sense that math problems have certain steps to follow and an order and if you can't do all the steps precisely and follow the correct order, you can't come up with the right answer! There are no short cuts!