11 ways to give girls confidence with Maths
We recently wrote an article in which we explored ways to encourage boys to read. This week we are looking at ways of encouraging girls with Maths.
It may seem odd to focus on girls and boys separately as both genders can struggle with all subjects, including Maths and English. But broadly speaking, boys struggle more with English and girls tend to struggle more with Maths. However, both articles can and do apply to girls and boys alike.
1. Encourage mistakes
Yes, that’s right, we did say ‘encourage mistakes’! This is because when we make mistakes, we learn from them. By making mistakes we open our minds and find different ways to solve problems. If we are too afraid to make mistakes, we put up a barrier towards learning. Worse, we believe that if we don’t get it right first time, we’ve failed. That simply is not true!
2. Have fun with Maths
Many girls have built up a fear or a phobia about Maths because of a difficult Maths lesson in which they did not understand something. And children may be afraid to ask questions, especially in front of their peers. If you make Maths fun (and other subjects too), they’ll start to enjoy them and want to learn more. A good Maths game or puzzle is Sudoku. By playing around with numbers, children’s confidence in Maths will grow and as it does so, they find the subject more enjoyable. This in turn will make them want to play more maths games and puzzles and learn even more.
3. Encourage critical thinking in Maths
Always encourage critical thinking because this is the most effective way to find solutions in Maths. Encourage children to write down the process so you can see how they achieved the answer. That way, even if the final answer is wrong, marks can still be awarded for demonstrating the critical thinking process.
4. Make Maths visible
Maths is all around us in our daily lives. Whether it’s shopping, cooking a meal, paying bills or buying something, it involves Maths. So don’t be afraid to talk about Maths and bring it into conversations. In that way, it’ll becomes natural for girls to solve problems and create solutions.
5. Encourage partnership working in Maths
It is often said that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. By encouraging girls to work together, they support each other. Often there is more than one way of solving a problem… and seeing a problem from another perspective often solves it faster.
6. Dispel myths about Maths
Often children do not like what they do not understand. Encourage them to explore and find out the answers to questions. And if you don’t know the answer to a specific question, find out together.
7. Using calculators and computers in Maths
Using calculators and computers in Maths is not cheating. In fact, some Maths is impossible to work out without the use of a calculator! However, it is important to remember that if information is typed in incorrectly, the calculator will only give the answer to what has been fed into it, so encourage children to double-check their calculations.
8. Knowing times tables and being confident to use them is important
Learning times tables is crucial for building confidence in Maths because they’re the foundation of many other areas of Maths. Times tables can be learnt through music, videos or even just writing the answers down until children can remember them.
9. Change the mindset of Maths
Many girls have been told that they’re no good at Maths, and because they’re told this, they believe it’s true. That needs to stop, today. Tell girls they’re excellent at Maths and that will boost their confidence. The mind is the most powerful learning tool there is, and when we give children positive messages, it’s likely their results will improve.
10. Practice, practice, practice
In order to improve any skill, encourage children to practise it. Even if it’s only for five minutes a day to begin with, and then increase it to 10 minutes a day and so on. The more they practice, the better they’ll become.
11. Contact Outside the Box Education for Maths tuition up to GCSE
We offer Maths tuition up to GCSE. Email us at: email@example.com or telephone us on 07590 395089. We will be happy to help any girls who are struggling with Maths. And we help boys too!