Students have varied perceptions when it comes to mathematics. Some find the subject easy while others think it’s a nightmare. These mixed feelings extend to fields such as geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and algebra.
Of the areas mentioned, the most critical is algebra because it’s fundamental for other disciplines. Whether the topic is on factoring, inverse relations, or proportional relationships, algebra is essential since it’s a stepping stone to higher-level mathematics and almost every post-secondary education curriculum. Click to read about certain algebraic topics and see that the lack of competency might lead to difficulty in other mathematical fields.
Why Students Find Algebra Difficult
Understanding the factors influencing students’ perception of algebra would help address these concerns adequately. Here are some of the most common reasons to know:
- When children have difficulty learning numbers when they’re young, they’re more likely to fear mathematics when entering school. This can affect them throughout their academic life.
- Children’s behavior toward algebra and mathematics is influenced by adults’ thoughts, feelings, or actions. Generally speaking, the reactions one receives from other people could become a source of anxiety.
- The subject has been taught through rote learning—concepts being introduced for students to memorize and not to understand. This is a manifestation of a teacher’s inability to use the appropriate method of teaching the subject.
- Some students don’t take time to reflect and correct their mistakes. They lose interest in the subject, which could be the reason for thinking it’s difficult.
Ways To Learn Algebra Easily
Knowing the different reasons why students find the subject complex helps find solutions for them, too. Here are some ways to learn algebra:
1. Introduce Mathematical Concepts The Right Way
Ensuring kids are exposed to mathematics properly can help them develop a positive disposition with the subject. Math isn’t about memorizing discrete numbers or knowing the answer to 1 + 4. Instead, it’s about kids consciously trying to make sense of their surroundings.
Thus, open-ended and playful experimentation, instead of exercises or worksheets with a single correct answer, would allow children to overcome questions with real-life scenarios. Children can develop a better interpretation of numbers when they’re taught in a more meaningful way.
2. Acknowledge When You Or A Student Is Having Difficulty
As a parent or teacher, how do you react when a student tells you algebra is difficult? Do you get mad at them? Or do you lend a hand to help them? On the other hand, when you’re experiencing difficulty, do you deny and shrug it off? Or do you acknowledge and find ways?
Learning algebra quickly always starts with finding the right attitude. This is particularly challenging whenever the topic seems to offer you a stricter learning curve or when the exam scores seem discouraging.
Therefore, one is advised to start with reflecting on the current situation and acknowledge the difficulty from there. By doing so, it’ll allow you to look for ways to solve the problem. Some of the answers might be:
- Join or start a study group. For children, it may be one of the best ways to do their assignments. Group members can assist each other with homework and take-home quizzes.
- The most significant advantage of joining a research group is the opportunity to learn from others. However, there are periods when learning from a tutor is more helpful. Hiring one for yourself or your child is similar to having a personal teacher. A tutor can provide customized assistance depending on one’s learning speed.
- Tutors are beneficial because they can demonstrate and revisit a lesson until it can be understood fully. They can also check your work, provide feedback, and make suggestions. Other benefits of hiring a tutor include learning shortcuts and tricks to remember rules.
Remember, learning algebra is a process taking time. It needs a lot of effort, preparation, and patience. But it’s certainly possible if you, a student, or a child receive the needed assistance along the way.
3. Learn Specific Techniques
If you don’t have the budget to hire a tutor, there are still a few techniques to help you learn algebra quickly, including:
- Master The Essentials
Algebra requires deep understanding and mastery of the basics, including the basic operations and proper organization of figures.
Knowledge of basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is required to begin learning algebra. It’d be difficult to overcome the more complicated topics if you don’t know these operations.
Also, one of the most challenging aspects of solving an algebra equation as a beginner requires knowing where to begin because algebraic operations use several operations. PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction) is a helpful acronym for understanding the order of operations to solve algebraic problems.
Lastly, keep your computation in order by beginning a new line each time you take a step toward solving your problem to help you prevent mistakes. Whenever there’s a new operation under PEMDAS you need, you’ll see it’d require a new line for organizing.
A firm grasp of these can help you handle algebraic equations better.
- Know How To Work With Variables
Instead of numbers alone, you’ll start to see letters and symbols in algebra referred to as variables. Variables aren’t as perplexing as they appear because they’re just means of displaying numbers with undefined values and they’re usually represented by an alphabet.
Remember, equations involving a variable always follow a simple pattern. To illustrate, take the expression x = 4x+2. To know the value of x, isolate the variable on one side of the equation first.
Both sides of the equation have a variable: x on the left side and 4x on the right side. To do the isolation, one needs to cancel out the constant first. This can be done by getting the negative value of 4x, which is -4x.
Put this value on each side of the equation. The new equation should look something like
-4x+x = 4x+2-4x. Once the needed operations are applied, you’ll arrive at -3x=2.
Second, isolate the variable itself. The equation -3x=2 isn’t solved yet as x still has the value of -3, so one needs to isolate x by dividing both sides of the equation with -3. If you’re wondering where -3 comes from, it refers to the constant or number corresponding to the variable x.
Once the needed operation is applied, you’ll arrive at x=-2/3. -2/3 is the value of the variable you’re looking for.
These steps show the fundamentals of working with variables. However, there are other ways you should know of when working. Some scenarios would require you to combine like terms while some would also need other simplifying techniques, especially for more complicated equations.
Despite the challenges it poses, algebra is a subject that can be learned by everyone. The right way to approach it starts from ones’ early years of comprehending mathematics. Having the right attitude toward difficult problems can also help anyone learn about the subject quickly.
To help yourself understand, you must first work on getting the essentials right, including the basic operations, negative numbers, organization, and knowing how to work with variables. Consider the steps mentioned here to assist you in studying.