for faculty · for students · math anxiety

Science is hard and that’s a good thing!

To be honest, math always came easily to me and so I never understood the “math anxiety” or “I hate math” perspectives.  This post, entitled Science: It’s Really, Really Hard, And That’s Something To Celebrate sums up a couple of key things that have bouncing around in my head but I hadn’t yet put into words:

  • To scientists and engineers, math is a tool that allows us to “speak directly with the world.”  How cool is that?!
  • While there seems to be a lot of effort these days being put into changing the way math and science are taught in order to better engage students, that doesn’t change the fact that it is still HARD and should be HARD.
  • “Grades tend to be lower in science and math classes compared with other courses on campus.”  I don’t know for sure why that is, because I don’t teach outside my faculty of Science.  But when administration criticizes me and my colleagues because we give marks lower than other faculties, my back gets up.

As an engineering instructor, I am very willing to try teaching in new ways and to re-design my courses based on what we now know about learning.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to make my course easier.  No sirree.  Students have to be willing to meet me halfway by putting in the necessary time and effort to master the concepts and skills required.  Because time and effort are what it takes.

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