Being good at Maths: Natural ability or an acquired skill?
Most of the time, people share a unique relationship with numbers. Either they love numbers or complain how they don’t understand numbers at all!
Many of us still believe that Maths has more to do with natural ability than something that can be learned or practiced.
Though talent does play a part, as Geoff Colvin’ in his book “Talent is overrated” points out that people can have a slight affinity towards certain things, but world-class Talent is not something you have or you don’t have. He claims people can only acquire world-class talent if they have focus, concentration and are ready to do extremely intense directed practice with a skilled coach. Though he generally talks about sports or physical activities in his book, we can apply the same logic for mental activities
Most of the research indicates that talent alone cannot survive. Talent can only shine when accompanied by practice and hard work. There are innumerable examples of hard work and grit that led people to great successes, and there is no shortage of stories where people did not work on their talents and thus were unable to achieve what they could have. Therefore, it would not be incorrect to say,” Hard work beats Talent when the Talent does not work hard”.
To learn anything new requires patience, dedication, hard work and guidance. With practice, we can achieve things that, at times, look unattainable.
A lot of people, when told that skills in Maths can be acquired, seem pretty doubtful. And their doubt stems from the fact that if skills in Maths can be developed, then how come students of certain ethnicities do far better than others.
Based on it, research was carried out in Canada to determine why students of particular nationality outshined the native students and why even the average students of certain countries were far ahead of their Canadian counterparts as far as Maths’s skills were concerned
It was found that most of the students coming from these countries dedicate two hours to Maths every day from a very young age. Hence, they are far ahead in the learning curve than the other students who don’t practice Maths that much and consequently find the Maths easier. Therefore, the belief that students of a particular ethnicity are naturally good at Maths was unproven, and it substantiated the fact that Mathematics is a learned skill. If we put in the time and practice, we can learn all the essential mathematic skills required for any field.
Interestingly, parents who are good at Maths, their children are usually good at Maths too. It could be because when children see their parents having a good relationship with numbers, they imitate the same behavior consciously or subconsciously and thus have a good association with numbers, helping them to do better.
Similarly, like Geoff Colvin, Malcolm Gladwell also states’ Genius is overrated’ in his book “Outliers”. He emphasises that success is not just about innate ability – it’s a combination of several critical factors like opportunity and hard work.
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He specifically talks about the “Matthew Effect”, a term coined by Robert Merton. It describes the phenomenon where those who have the edge over others are given opportunities that increase that edge. It’s a term that describes the “the rich get richer” phenomenon.
Also, every individual has a distinct way of learning; some learn by watching, some are better at listening, and some learn by doing it themselves. In a scenario where typically there are 30-40 students in a class, it’s not practically possible for a teacher to use different techniques. Hence some children learn faster than others. However, if given an opportunity, there is a possibility that the average student can also do well; This is where Maths Coaching Academy can help you. We have customised lessons based on the students’ ability
levels, making sure each of our students is taught based on their learning pace. We at Maths Coach Academy also believe numbers can be anyone’s friends, provided we share a good relationship with them and give them time. Maths requires practice, hard work and patience. However, it’s equally important to have someone skilled in Maths to help you befriend numbers.
At Maths Coach Academy, we can provide you with the tools and methods to help you overcome the fear of numbers. We understand that some of you are natural, others require more work, and the ease or difficulty you learn varies extensively. Hence, we have designed our tutorials and study material to keep all these things in mind.
It doesn’t matter if you want to be a mathematician or wish to use your skills to attain success in some exams; we can help you achieve your goal. So, if you are looking to share an excellent relationship with Maths, please get in touch with us.