Developing positive attitude

What are the incentives needed in order to develop a positive attitude in children and other students towards mathematics?

I don't think special incentives is the main factor in developing a positive attitude towards mathematics.

I feel it is sufficient to get a few of the basics right, and then that alone will take care of most of it, and then students will like math just fine.

Disliking math is not something that is inherent in us or in our kids. Little kids don't dislike math or numbers. They're just fine with them! This "I hate math" or "I don't like math" attitude seems to develop during school years.

Now, I also don't think that children are disliking reasoning, because they're happy to do puzzles and play games where you have to think.

And, students' negative attitude towards math also is NOT due to (school) math being difficult. The math we learn in school is not difficult. You don't have to be a math whiz to understand it.

If you can learn to read and to use computer software, surely you can learn basic math. It's not that complex.

So... here are the two main factors that I feel contribute most to what attitude children develop towards math:

1) The teacher's attitude.

If you love math and are enthusiastic about it, it is seen in your teaching, and your attitude will be somewhat contagious.

It's true the other way around as well: if you don't like math, yet you teach it, students will sense your attitude. (I've written about the teacher's attitude in this article.)

2) How the math is being taught.

Children can end up not liking math when it is taught in such a way that they don't understand it. And, when they don't understand math, then they don't like studying it.

When they don't understand it, then they don't like studying more of it.

The teacher obviously can influence A LOT how the math is taught, but curriculum or the book also plays a role.

So, if we as teachers can get these two basic things straightened out, our students should learn to like math... or at least not hate it.

See also:
Four habits of highly effective math teaching

Is your math curriculum coherent?

How to motivate and prevent math anxiety

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