Cracking the code of maths

By Herman M. Lagon

MATHS can present challenges for many students, but it can become more manageable and enjoyable with the right approach. As a math and physics professor, I understand students’ struggles and the importance of finding ways to cope with and love math. Here are some insights into why math can be complex and how students can overcome these difficulties.

One reason math can be complex is its tendency to involve multi-step problems that require focused attention. During lessons, students may lose focus, miss crucial steps, and later need help with concepts. Developing techniques to maintain focus and ensuring a thorough understanding of each step can mitigate these challenges.

Math is a sequential subject, building upon previous concepts. Students who grasp a previous lesson may need additional support when encountering new concepts. It is vital to establish a strong foundation before progressing, and students can benefit from identifying and addressing any gaps in their understanding.

While students may know how to perform mathematical operations, developing a deeper comprehension of the underlying concepts is essential. Visual representations and personalized approaches can enhance understanding. Recognizing that different students learn in different ways, individualized support can cater to their unique learning styles.

Practice and patience are fundamental to learning math. Many students may need to increase their practice time or need help with independently applying concepts. It is essential to acknowledge that learning math takes time and effort. Identifying areas for improvement and dedicating sufficient time to practice can yield significant progress.

Students often question the real-life applications of math, which can create a disconnection. Bridging this gap by helping students connect math and real-life situations enhances their understanding. Visualizing concepts can be particularly beneficial for certain students.

It is crucial to dispel the belief that some individuals are inherently bad at math. Math skills require practice and patience, and everyone has the potential to succeed. One’s mindset and anxiety about math significantly affect their mathematical abilities. Encouraging self-belief and fostering a positive attitude can make a real difference.

For children who find math challenging, it is essential not to shame or embarrass them. Each child has their strengths and challenges. As a parent, you can support your child by understanding why they find math difficult and addressing those specific challenges.

Common reasons for math difficulties include attention difficulties, lack of understanding, learning difficulties, impatience, limited opportunities for practice outside of school, discomfort with analytical subjects, and math anxiety. Identifying the underlying reasons can guide your support and interventions.

Communicating with your child’s teacher and collaborating to develop strategies can be highly beneficial. Understanding your child’s preferred learning style and adapting their learning accordingly can make a significant difference. Making math enjoyable through engaging platforms and activities can enhance their motivation and enjoyment.


Mathematics should not be a source of anxiety or frustration. Students can develop the skills and confidence to succeed in math with the proper support and mindset. By addressing specific challenges and finding ways to make math more accessible and enjoyable, we can help students cope with and even develop a love for mathematics.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.