I still am trying to fathom why so many hours in school are devoted to mathematics. And it looks like the more math in school, the less the students seem to learn. Something is not right. I remember asking my eleventh-grade math teacher why we had to learn the abstract formulas we were doing in trigonometry. (I think that’s what it was called.) I will never forget his reply. He told the class that this was important if you were going to determine the reflection angles on the design of car headlights. Thank you very much. I guess I knew by the age of seven I was never going to be an engineer, certainly confirmed at the age of sixteen when I got that reply.
I get the importance of math. These are the golden days of mathematicians, especially if want work in the tech industry designing effective algorithms. Yes, I get it. But my teachers could never explain it.
As a teacher or parent – or dare I say leader – you cannot ignore the “why” question. Understanding the why, and the personal advantage of learning what is in front of you are so very crucial to the learning process. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old.
As a school principal/headmasters, I was told I had to learn an intricate computer administrate program. They wanted me to spend even more time behind my desk in front of a computer filling in forms. So I go this course and the teacher dives into the deep dark hole of the program, losing 90% of the learners in the process, many like me seeing that this is going to complicate my life as a leader, not ease my life.
That’s why I and many of my fellow headmasters, turned off their brains. Let me speak for myself – it is difficult to learn when you are 1. Mad, 2. Don’t understand the purpose, and 3. Don’t understand the advantages.
So if you are going to ask someone to learn something you sure need to put a lot of thought into explaining why this is important and how this can be helpful in their lives. Not everything can be explained or be experienced as advantageous to learn, but you and I, in our effort to help people learn, certainly need to put more effort into the explanation before we start digging.