Why do we hate math and science so much?
As someone who took up science and math, knowing full well that my intellectual capacity would not be enough to help me score straight As on my exams, I submitted to the fact that I would forever be dumb and stupid. Nothing could possibly salvage my intellect until and unless I managed to score wonderfully in the finals; as it turns out, I did score very well, straight, perfect scores. Never had I felt more validated. Smarter. Until someone asked me a question based on the very fundamentals of science and I stood there, stumped.
But I had scored perfectly! Why didn’t I have the answers then?
Basically, because I didn’t know anything. I had gone about literally licking textbooks, waiting for the information to flow into my brain through osmosis, not really understanding what I was studying. Not curious. Just eager to score well.
This is the only problem with our education system; we breed competition, not curiosity.
Let’s take math as an example, a math teacher isn’t just supposed to teach us how to add and subtract values, to evaluate the x’s and y’s in an equation to learn formulas; their job is to tell us how it all started. How man woke up one day and decided, oh I need to invent some numbers, how one person decided what shape a triangle is, how you can measure a square, how to calculate what was needed for the giant pyramids in Egypt. How did it all start? Who made up these rules, these laws that are so essential to us now.
If you don’t teach children at their level, with stories, grasping their fingers as you explain the greatest complexities of the world and then teaching them the power they have over these signs, variables, and numbers, you can’t expect them to love mathematics. You can’t expect them to understand the order of this universe if you don’t teach them to make sense of the chaos in their mind.
The same goes for science; we teach children about cells, plants, photosynthesis, mitochondria but we forget to make them marvel at the intricacy of it. How all of us are made of the smallest particles, invisible to our eye but functioning in perfect symphony. How we discovered fire, how we tried to explain small, cold water droplets falling down from the sky, plopping on our face, giving life to the soil beneath our feet. If you don’t teach children to question the very foundations of what they know, if you don’t encourage the chaos in their mind, if you don’t get down to their level of understanding and learn to take nothing for granted – you’re not doing a good job.
In fact, you’re not doing your job at all. You’re molding them. Telling them to take the world at its word. You’re actually just being an authoritarian, not a teacher since you’re not actually departing any knowledge at all.
So teachers, stop normalizing the hate that your students have towards STEM subjects, empower them, encourage them and tell them to start questioning everything they see. There is much left to discover in this world.