Jump to main content
Search
shortlist register contact us menu
How to teach maths to pupils who don't like maths

How to teach maths to pupils who don't like maths

Date posted : 07 January 2020

It’s not uncommon for pupils to dislike maths. We regularly hear the phrase “I’ve never really been good at maths”. So how do we change this mentality?

First, we must understand that this is more problematic than students simply not liking maths - some feel anxious when trying to learn the subject. From here we must build their confidence and encourage them to get involved in maths lessons. How do we do this? We need to inspire our pupils to embrace maths, and as we do, we’ll have the much easier job of teaching the subject to students who want to learn it.

Understand why your students are reluctant to learn

The Maths Anxiety Trust has recognised that students who say they “don’t like maths” actually experience some very negative feelings towards the subject, such as helplessness and mental disorganisation. A study they conducted found that 25% of students have Maths Anxiety, and a further 15% have experienced it.

So, as teachers, it is our duty to help students overcome this fear of maths. When students are overwhelmed with the feeling of not understanding a subject their mind will go blank. Rather than struggling to make sense of it they make the bold statement – “I hate maths” - because this is easier than facing how anxious the confusion makes them. These students will resist your enthusiastic attempts to teach which can make it very difficult to get them involved in your maths lessons.

Build their confidence

Break their defeatism

The first thing you must do is help your pupils break their defeatism. Begin by disrupting the notion that maths is “too hard”. Of course, even strong maths students can be daunted when they are overwhelmed with new information, so new concepts should be gradually introduced, and you should only move onto more complex problems once they have grasped the concept. Otherwise, this will lead to gaps in their knowledge and further confusion as the problems get harder.

Combat the gaps in their background knowledge

It’s likely that your pupils already have a few existing gaps in their knowledge, so if you can identify what those are it can prevent them becoming frustrated further into the syllabus. Imagine their learning being scaffolded one skill at a time; this careful construction ensures that they understand each step carefully, it becomes the building block for more complex problems and will result in a deeper level of understanding.

Show your pupils they can get better at maths

This growth mindset of gradually introducing harder problems will help your pupils realise that they can get better at maths. This is essential if you want to break down the mental block that many students put up towards maths.

Get your students to embrace maths

Introduce games

To really get your pupils to embrace maths you need to think about how you can get them to participate in lessons. A great strategy is to begin every lesson with an inclusive game that will boost their involvement. This can be as simple as a quick-fire mental maths round where you go around asking each student a question and they if they get it wrong, they take a seat. The benefit of this game is that if you know each student’s capability fairly well you can alter the difficulty of the question to suit their ability; this will help give a boost to students who aren’t confident in maths.

Are you interested in finding other maths games to engage your pupils? Explore more games for primary students and secondary students.

Use technology

Pupils both in primary and secondary schools were raised in the digital age. While there is an ongoing debate about whether the younger generation spends too much time looking at a screen, we should not ignore the fact that technology can sometimes be more stimulating than reading from a textbook. Online platforms, like Mathletics, offer activities that can be particularly helpful for students who need auditory and visual stimuli to assist their learning.

There are plenty of free maths learning resources too. Students can choose to revise modules which they are struggling with and many of these online tools have interactive assessments that let them track their progress. Encourage your pupils to spend time exploring these resources or even use them to assign homework tasks.

Explore teaching opportunities with Teaching Personnel

How would you like to be a part of the change that teaches our pupils to love maths? Take a look at our latest maths teacher jobs or register with us to keep up to date with new job opportunities. Teaching Personnel has over 80 branches around the UK, making our recruitment consultants best placed to help you find your next school. Interested in reading more blogs and advice? Find the latest maths news here.

List #1

Related posts

Tackling Absenteeism: Turning the Tide with our Attendance Mentors Programme

Teaser

Educators

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD05YY

Summary

Poor attendance has been an issue across the UK since the pandemic. According to recent statistics, pupil absenteeism in England soared to 22% by 2023. This equates to over 125,000 pupils missing

Teaser

Discover how our Attendance Mentors Programme tackles pupil absenteeism in the UK. Learn how tailored support and proven strategies can boost school attendance and academic success.

Read more
Navigating Exam Stress: How to Help Your Learners

Teaser

Tips and Advice

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD05YY

Summary

As the academic year peaks, the pressure of exams can overwhelm pupils. Many teachers believe that tests and exams have the biggest impact on students’ mental health. With GCSEs, SATs, and A-Levels

Teaser

Read more
How to Make Teaching an Attractive Career Choice

Teaser

Tips and Advice

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD04YY

Summary

The teacher recruitment crisis is a priority for school leaders across the country. In the 2021–22 academic year, 4000 teachers retired, and 9% of the teaching workforce resigned, marking the highes

Teaser

Read more
Your Easter 2024 Payroll

Teaser

Educators

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD03YY

Summary

Planning for the Easter break? The Teaching Personnel payroll team wants to make sure you get paid on time. This table outlines the Easter 2024 payroll date, along with the corresponding deadline

Teaser

Read more
Adam Davies

by

Adam Davies

Adam Davies

by

Adam Davies

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Working as a Supply Teacher
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Working as a Supply Teacher

Teaser

Supply Teaching

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD01YY

Summary

Table of Contents 1. Why do people become supply teachers? 2. What does it take to become a supply teacher? 3. How can I find work as a supply teacher? <!-- b--> 4. How shou

Teaser

All your common questions about supply teaching answered

Read more
Alex Schulte

by

Alex Schulte

Alex Schulte

by

Alex Schulte

Navigating the Challenges of SEN Provision: A Call to Action in 2024

Teaser

Educators

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD01YY

Summary

Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision in schools is a critical aspect of education that demands attention in 2024. According to the Department for Education, over 1.5 million pupils in England

Teaser

Dive into the critical world of Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision with eye-opening statistics and real challenges faced by schools. Discover the importance of tailored support and the impact on learners.

Read more
Recruitment and Retention for MAT Leaders

Teaser

Multi-Academy Trusts

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD11YY

Summary

Laura Williams is an education leadership coach with fifteen years of leadership experience in education across business, operations, HR, finance and governance. She is a former Business Manager, CO

Teaser

Read more

by

Scott Owen

by

Scott Owen

Addressing Bullying: Transforming "Banter" into Respectful Dialogue

Teaser

Educators

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD11YY

Summary

Creating a safe and nurturing environment for pupils is paramount in the age of evolving social dynamics. One issue that has gained significant attention in recent years is the distinction between

Teaser

Addressing the fine line between banter and bullying. Learn how seemingly harmless 'banter' can take a dark turn into hurtful bullying and the impact it has on students' well-being.

Read more
Adam Davies

by

Adam Davies

Adam Davies

by

Adam Davies

view of young girl with glasses from behind working on school work
Teaching Personnel and Ark Curriculum Plus Delivering Mathematics Mastery

Teaser

Educators

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD11YY

Summary

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson addressed the Labour Party conference in October, where she announced plans to reform primary maths. Currently, one in four children leave primary school

Teaser

Discover how Teaching Personnel and Ark Curriculum Plus are revolutionizing primary math education in Leeds, Liverpool, Preston, and Sheffield.

Read more
Teacher in shirt and tie supervising students at desks taking exams in a school hall
How to Prepare Pupils for Their Mock Exams: A Guide for Educators

Teaser

Tips and Advice

Content Type

TP-Posts

Publish date

DD10YY

Summary

Mock exams are a crucial milestone in a pupil's academic journey, serving as a practice run for the real deal. As educators, you play a pivotal role in helping pupils navigate through these trial ex

Teaser

Our educator's guide offers tips to prepare students for mock exams, helping them gain confidence and perform well.

Read more
company logo
Search