Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TWO HIDDEN QUALITIES I DISCOVERED IN HIGH SCHOOL MATHS

Have you seen a good student in maths? Then, you’ve seen a bright, sharp eyed, well dressed and admirable personality. Indeed, students, I have noticed, who do well in maths, tend to on the average turn our with better personalities than others.
I have noticed that high school students who do well in maths have two admirable qualities I cherish: obedience and loyalty.
Obedience: Maths, at the high school level, is a subject of conventions and practices. It still is in even other levels. You get to learn the formula and use that formula for every and similar problems. Sometimes, if you have to learn a proof, you don’t have to trouble your head deriving it from scratch – just follow the textbook’s method.
Ever wondered why pi is the value 3.142 when the value can run into so many decimal places? Because that is what you are told it is in high school maths. Because somebody said the angles of a triangle sum up to 180 degrees and you have to accept it like that and you accept it! You see what obedience is! High school students good in maths carry this quality into their advanced years and they get to reap a lot of benefits from it.
Loyalty: or the act of fidelity; being faithful to someone, something or what you believe in. I have also noticed that high school students who are good in maths are loyal or faithful to what they believe in. Most of them tend to be leaders in youth clubs like the Junior Engineers, Technologists and Scientists (JETS) clubs, literary societies, maths clubs etc. They carry this trait into their further years. And unfortunately, in Nigeria, where there is a lack of educational and career counseling, they tend to populate the science classes.
Maths is a subject of faithfulness. If you want to solve a simultaneous equation, you have to stick to the method which is prescribed, whether using a graph, a matrix formula or deriving it by substitution and mathematical operations. 1 plus 1 is always 2 anywhere and everywhere in the world and you don’t have to bother why it is like that because that is the way it is calculated in maths; just believe that is so.
I have learnt a lot from teaching high school students maths. Really a lot.

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