math tutoring calgary

Plasticity and Your Brain

Math is a common inquiry when people are searching out one-on-one tutoring, and understandably so. The importance of mathematics runs deeper than solely getting a passing grade in the core subject, which is why it is so highly valued – especially in the mathematical and science-driven world we live in today. Having a firm understanding of its foundational concepts helps students in many areas as they grow. 


Understanding mathematics on a deeper level opens one’s mind up to view the world around them in a vast and meaningful way, so it is unfortunate that so many feel as though they simply are not “mathematical”, and never will be.


In the Atlantic article‘The Myth of ‘I’m Bad at Math’, Miles Kimball and Noah Smith perfectly sum up the fallacy behind the misconception:


“Different kids with different levels of preparation come into math class. Some of these kids have parents who have drilled them on math from a young age, while others never had that kind of parental input.


On the first few tests, the well-prepared kids get perfect scores, while the unprepared kids get only what they could figure out by winging it—maybe 80 or 85%, a solid B.


The unprepared kids, not realizing that the top scorers were well-prepared, assume that genetic ability was what determined the performance differences. Deciding that they “just aren’t math people,” they don’t try hard in future classes and fall further behind.


The well-prepared kids, not realizing that the B students were simply unprepared, assume that they are “math people,” and work hard in the future, cementing their advantage.


Thus, people’s belief that math ability can’t change becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”


The human brains’ plasticity has been solidly proven tenfold. While some seemingly are born naturally mathematical, in actuality what it comes down to is one’s drive in wanting to master the subject. Knowing this, anyone can be confident in their journey to understand math.


Math is all around us. In nature, we see its beauty when we look at the patterns of a snowflake, an acorn, and even the way that bees intrinsically structurize their hives. In turn, it is the foundation of design in which we build our own societies. Math is not merely something that allows us to understand formulas, data and figures. It truly is the beautiful complexity of the creation which surrounds us every single day. Understanding it allows us to connect deeper to our world. It is quite exciting when looking at it from this perspective! 


It is from this foundation that we can feel more empowered to understand its most basic concepts, and how it applies to our everyday lives on the surface level. Financial literacy, for one, can be much better understood and utilized when one has a solid mathematical foundation. 


Additionally, mathematics strengthens your prefrontal cortex, which is the area of our brain that is responsible for complex problem-solving. Akshay for Life Hacks breaks this down perfectly:


“When we do a mathematical problem: collect the data, break down its premises, observe the relations that keep or systematically solve their parts in a rational way. If we are able to understand mathematics and arrive at logical solutions, we will be able to prepare our minds when we have real problems. We can look for the best logic, see the possible solutions and relate the data we have to reach the conclusion.” 


Beautifully said. 


Math solidifies our brain’s ability to apply these concepts when facing life’s ongoing challenges with more ease.


Additionally, when a student is choosing a career path to prepare for, a strong understanding of mathematics allows them to pursue so many different options – even the ones that are not math-focused. The American Mathematical Society states that “Mathematical research and education are at the heart of some careers, while other careers utilize mathematics and its applications to build and enhance important work in the sciences, business, finance, manufacturing, communications, and engineering.”


As students grow into adulthood, these are core skills we know that they need to have in order to live healthy and fulfilling lives, even apart from the careers they choose. 


Sitting down one-on-one with a math tutor gives a student a strong advantage in these crucial areas. It allows the student to be spoken to in their own individual learning language in order to help them better understand the formulas in front of them, and pinpoint exactly which foundational concepts they are missing on the grand scale – the common culprit. 


It’s really no wonder math tutoring is so highly valued and commonly sought after! 

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