Mathematics were one of the most rigid classes I took in my schooling. I found that there was often only one way that our math classes were taught and there was always only one way to find the answer that we were looking for.

I remember in a middle years class where we were learning long division I was really struggling. I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing and was never getting the right answers. My dad was always the one at home who helped us with our math homework so I had him try to explain how to get the answer to me. He ended up teaching me a completely different way to do division and guess what? I actually got the right answers!

Coming up to the test, this is how I practiced because I had finally figured out a way to do division that worked for me. On the test, however, I ended up only getting half a mark for any of those questions. I didn’t understand why because I was getting the correct answers. I went to my teacher to ask what I was doing wrong and she told me I needed to show my work. I explained that I had showed my work with the way I had figured out division, and she said ‘no, you need to follow the way you were shown in class.’

This isn’t something new to math. Most math teachers teach students one way and if you can’t do it that way then you end up losing marks. This is unfair I think. Some students don’t learn the same as others and so for them to find a way that makes sense for them, they should be able to use this in class as well.

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