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Middle School MathWritten by Tara PerisMiddle school math is important not only because it lays a foundation of skills that children will use in subsequent math classes, but because it shapes how children view math in general. Early learning experiences, especially those that are bad, can serve to undermine selfconfidence and create negative attitudes toward math and science. These attitudes can in turn affect performance, making an otherwise capable student perform poorly. All students have subjects they like and those they dread. However, among the basicsmath, science, english, and historymath gets an especially bad wrap. A substantial majority of children and adults will tell you they don't like math. Of greater concern is the fact that, as a society, no one thinks twice about expressing dislike for math or casually stating, "I'm just not a math person." Building Positive Attitudes Toward Middle School MathThese negative attitudes abound, and they carry over to performance. Children who approach middle school math with frustration, apprehension, or the sense that they will fail are likely to be less persistent with problem solving. Middle school math and indeed, all math, requires a commitment to learning. Without it, no one can progress very far. This commitment is borne out of a sense of ones own abilities and a belief that persistence will yield success. These attitudes are shaped early on in ones academic career, and it is crucial that educators work to build positive attitudes toward math from an early age. Do not wait for middle school math. Start in the elementary school years, and help to foster a love of math and science. »
