Empowering Adolescents: Effective Strategies for Parents to Support Maths Education

Tuesday, 25 Jul 2023

Mathematics plays a fundamental role in shaping a student's educational journey and future opportunities. As adolescents navigate their way through the complexities of maths, parental support can make a significant difference. By adopting proactive strategies, parents can foster a positive attitude, bolster confidence, and enhance their child's mathematical abilities. Here are some effective strategies parents can employ to support their adolescent child in their mathematics education.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Encourage your child to adopt a growth mindset—a belief that intelligence and mathematical skills can be developed through effort and perseverance. Emphasise the importance of learning from mistakes and embracing challenges. Remind them that every step forward, regardless of how small, contributes to their growth and understanding.

Establish a Math-Friendly Environment
Create a maths-friendly atmosphere at home by incorporating maths into daily activities. Encourage your child to solve real-life maths problems, such as calculating grocery expenses or measuring ingredients while cooking. Additionally, provide access to maths resources, such as books, puzzles, and educational websites, to foster a continuous learning environment.

Communicate with Math Teachers
Maintain open lines of communication with your child's maths teacher. Attend parent-teacher meetings to discuss your child's progress, strengths, and areas that need improvement. Collaborate with the teacher to develop personalised learning plans, understand the curriculum, and identify additional resources that can support your child's learning.

Encourage Active Learning
Promote active learning strategies by engaging your child in hands-on maths activities. Encourage them to work with manipulatives, such as blocks or counters, to visualise and solve problems. Incorporate interactive maths games or educational apps that make learning enjoyable and reinforce key concepts.

Provide Practical Support
Offer practical support by helping your child with their maths homework. Rather than solving the problems for them, guide them through the process, asking leading questions to help them think critically. Encourage them to explain their reasoning, as articulating their thoughts enhances understanding.

Foster a Positive Attitude
Mathematics can be challenging, leading some adolescents to develop negative attitudes towards the subject. Encourage your child to embrace a positive attitude by celebrating their achievements, no matter how small. Offer praise for their effort and persistence, reinforcing their confidence in their mathematical abilities.

Emphasise Real-World Relevance
Help your child understand the practical applications of mathematics in everyday life. Discuss how mathematical concepts are used in various professions, such as architecture, finance, or engineering. Highlight the relevance of maths skills beyond the classroom, motivating them to see the subject's value and potential career opportunities.

Seek Additional Support
If your child requires additional support beyond what you can provide, consider seeking outside help. Tutoring services, online resources, or maths clubs can offer specialised assistance tailored to your child's needs. Such resources can provide targeted instruction, clarify difficult concepts, and offer opportunities for peer collaboration.

As parents, your support and involvement are crucial in nurturing your adolescent's mathematical abilities. By implementing these strategies, you can empower your child to develop a strong foundation in maths, foster a positive attitude, and excel in their mathematical education. Statements such as “I didn’t like maths when I was at school” simply reinforce that maths education isn’t important. Remember, a little encouragement and guidance can go a long way in shaping their future success in mathematics and beyond.

Nick Johnstone