As the father of two school-age boys, and as a second-year, second-career high school mathematics teacher, I am now more attuned to their attitude towards math, and how it changes with time. My vantage point is bittersweet, however, as one son distances himself from mathematics, the other engages in conversation with me about various aspects of it.
My eldest, at fourteen and a half, and a rising high school freshman, dislikes mathematics. While his mathematical intuition is strong, his self-doubt is stronger. In a traditional mathematics classroom, where grades of A through D range from 100% to 60%, his end of course grades range from the mid 80’s to the low 90’s, albeit a test score recently touched 6x%. As he attends a very competitive school, many of his classmates score higher than him in mathematics, so he feels inferior comparatively; hence, his negative self-perception about his mathematical…
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