As children, a lot of us often wondered how much value there is in a lot of what we learn about in school. We would ask when we’re going to use this stuff in life or how it’s going to prepare us for the working world. I think a lot of us, in particular, tended to wonder this with different kinds of mathematics. I mean, sure, we use the basics every day. But what good does it do us to know how to do stuff like algebra?
Well recently, a woman by the name of Maureen Downey wrote an article on whether we should be forcing students to be taking high-level math. She asks if students are ever really going to be using the math they’re learning.
One point that she brought up was that a lot of high school students end up dropping out of school because the math that they have to learn is too difficult. And this could definitely be a big issue.
I don’t know exactly why students are required to learn a lot of this higher-level math. The best answer I ever heard to the question of when will use the skills we learn is that, although it’s true that we likely won’t use them directly, learning and practicing these different math skills is a good way to train our brains to get better at math in general. The teacher of mine who said this compared it to how an athlete trains by lifting weights.
Now this is definitely an interesting point. After all, we do use math in life. And that can go beyond the basics of adding and subtracting. So maybe it’s a good thing that we learn how to solve complex math equations. Maybe it helps us a lot in life in ways that we don’t even realize.
And if you think about it, there are some careers that it can be really important for you to know certain kinds of math. I took a statistics course when I was in college. And that knowledge could definitely be helpful some day in my future as a professional journalist. So maybe the way they teach math now in schools isn’t so bad.