TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Why does everyone hate math?

Going to school (as I do on a daily basis), you see tons of different people with different interests (as I imagine you would in most situations). So everyday I see my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and everyone else in my grade, and the vast majority of them just don't like math. I just want to know why. Personally I love math, like all caps LOVE math, but I just can't get why it's just decided that no one is going to like math. Of all of the subjects to hate, why does everyone gravitate towards math? Is it just that it's taught badly (which I could very easily see), does everyone just see it as useless to know that x=2 when 12x+7=31, or is it that you just went with the crowd? But for all you math haters, why? And if you don't hate math like me, what made you go against everyone else?

Topics: education math

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 8 2013: MATH is the language of the universe. The first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a math teacher. Patterns are math. Music is math. Dance is math. I'm stretching the confines of the classroom here, but all things in nature are based off of mathematical principles. It could just be the way that math is taught.

    I didn't always like math though. As in, there were points in high school when I didn't really care. And I can't just blame that on "bad teaching". But as I've gotten older, the more I've come to value the math I do remember and the connections I do make using numbers and patterns.

    • thumb
      Mar 8 2013: Greg,
      I think you hit the nail on the head. Math is a language. Its a set of symbols and concepts that relate and work together. Why everyone hate's math is probably because the language is not spoken from birth and its rarely spoken in a dialect that people can understand. For most people, it would be like trying to learn Japanese; reading it as a native English speaker, and having the instructor pronouncing with a Russian accent.
      • thumb
        Mar 8 2013: Steven Pinker makes a similar argument- that we are not particiularly wired for it beyond basic counting. But that only means there can be challenges in learning it rather than that one wouldn't enjoy it.

        While people may vary in taste for challenge, it may be more likely that those who shirink back from it are uncomfortable with making mistakes along the way.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.