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These teachers say there’s no such thing as a ‘maths brain’

We’re here to bust the maths brain myth, with some help from inspiring maths teachers who have worked with people at all levels

How many times have you heard someone say ‘I’m not a maths person’ or ‘I don’t have a maths brain’? You might have said it yourself.

But teachers who work with all types of students say maths brains are really not a thing.

“I think it’s just a societal mindset of you either are a maths person or you’re not a maths person,” says high school maths teacher Zoe Land.

Zoe says as soon as they face a struggle with maths, many people just assume they’re “not a maths person,” but in reality anyone can be one.

“It’s just a matter of remembering different rules,” Zoe says. “You wouldn’t be able to go into art straight away and produce a masterpiece. But if you’re interested in it and invested in it, you can do it,” she adds.

Harrison Sanders, who teaches maths to students following a TAFE pathway, agrees.

He says a lot of students put pressure and unrealistic expectations on themselves, feeling like they should ‘just know’ how to do maths.

“I like to see learning maths as learning another language. Both have different symbols, different rules for grammar, reading and writing. You would never expect to ‘just understand’ another language,” Harry says.

Melissa Humphries, who started out as a chef but is now a statistician working with some serious maths challenges, says maths is more like a sport than any other subject you can study.

“The more you practice, the better you get. You can watch a hundred soccer games, and it will not improve your ability to kick a goal.  Maths is the same. You can put maths into online solvers, watch your teacher do it as much as you want, and the improvement to your ability will be minimal, Melissa says.

“But if you sit down and you practice and you do it and you go through those practice questions, you will get better…everyone is capable,” Melissa adds.

So the next time you hear someone say “I don’t have a maths brain,” remind them they totes do!

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