Elementary Math Affects More Than One Would Think

I am continuing to look at the results from the survey that I did and I’m seeing some trends the more I look. Now I know that this is not the most scientific survey, but it does show some good insight.

The way I looked at the information this time is how people feel about math now. Where were they in elementary school? I also looked at the comments and which shared more.

This first group highly dislike (1) math now. 50% of these people left a comment. Also 50% started liking math in elementary school. Why don’t they like it now? Mainly because as they got into high school and college things became confusing for them. They enjoyed math in elementary school, but never really had anyone help explain things to them and have been turned off by math. Several also shared that math instructors in higher math classes understand math, but do not know how to teach it where students can understand.

The second chart dislike (2) math now. 68% commented here. That is higher than the last group by quite a bit. The comments with these were very similar to the first group. They enjoyed math and understood it in elementary school, but as they got older they started to be left in the dark and not really helped.


Not have a like or dislike (3) of math now is shown. 60% of this group commented. Most said that math has just been a requirement and they have never really had strong feelings for math, like or dislike. However, you can see that many liked math in elementary school, but don’t enjoy it as much as they use to.


The fourth group likes (4) math now. For some reason this group had only 52% comment. That is just a little more than the first group. However, when you look at the chart you can see that this group has enjoyed math their entire life. Few of them had a strong dislike and moved up.



This final group highly likes (5) math now. This group had 65% leave a comment. Again, the majority of them have always really enjoyed math. In fact, one person commented, “I’m a math major in college, so I may be an outlier.” The fact that you see yourself as an outlier and you USED the word “outlier” shows that you are.


I guess the main information that I am pulling from this is most people seem to have enjoyed math early on, but have grown to dislike it. Why are we chasing students away as they get deeper into the subject of math. Elementary teachers, you play a HUGE part in the attitude toward math. If you don’t help students early on and show the enjoyment of math, it could really hurt the student later on.

However, middle school and high school math teachers need to realize that we can scare students as well. We need to understand that students may have a fear of math and if we just throw it in their face that they don’t understand, we push them away. We need to grab students and pull them into the math classroom and show how exciting it can be! We need to show the secrets of math. Show students that the secrets are there for them to enjoy.

Thoughts? Am I reading this data correctly? Do you agree or disagree? Do you have more questions about some of the data that I have collected?


About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and I am currently teaching math in Oklahoma.
This entry was posted in Education, Reform, Survey, Understanding. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Elementary Math Affects More Than One Would Think

  1. Michael G. says:

    I couldn’t agree more, especially with the following quote:

    “Elementary teachers, you play a HUGE part in the attitude toward math. If you don’t help students early on and show the enjoyment of math, it could really hurt the student later on.”

    Another fantastic post, Educationally Minded!

  2. Pingback: Top 5 Achievements of 2010-11 School Year | Educationally Minded

  3. Pingback: Math Shows True Feelings | Random Teacher Thoughts

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