According to Miles Kimball in this article How to turn every child into a math person, the "secret" to becoming a math person is simply to "act like someone who loves math"!

Best of all: spend time doing math in the kinds of ways people who love math spend time doing math. This hypothesis has three elements:

Why does this work?

- For anyone, the more time spent thinking about and working on math, the higher the level of mathematical skill achieved.
- Those who love math spend more time thinking about and working on math.
- There is a genetic component to how much someone loves math.

This echoes Mahatma Gandhi's quotation

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.

It's that simple, really! Miles goes on to proclaim:

It is time for all of us to take the responsibility for learning math and doing what we can to help others learn math

So, let's get the ball rolling. Which mathematical tangent has been your favorite?

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TopNewestI've always said that the best way to train to become a good skier is to ski. The best way to train to become good at math is to spend time thinking about and working on math. But that's hard to do if you don't love it, and most people don't. Is love of mathematics genetic? I don't know. But for sure, the way math is being taught in schools today seems designed to make people hate it. I would have hated it too, if I had to put up with the way it's done in most of America today. Math is art, and there's creativity, experimentation, and freedom that's inherent in art and math. Schools here in America don't do nearly enough enough to encourage those things. Bureaucrats who don't understand math or even hate it must have decided on the curriculum.

It's very encouraging, though, to learn that the US Math Team took 2nd place in the International Math Olympiad. We really should go interview that team and ask them what helped them to win---after decades of dismal performance by American students. – Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

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So what is wrong with school? I didn't said that school is bad for all but the prove is many people take science gone wrong and misunderstood. How about Genius people in here? How much time do they learn in one day? What do they do? Do they take school? Is school have great meaning for learning for them or they learning invidualy? i've seen 'children' about 13 years old with averages lv.5 brilliant on many topics. I just wondered how they learn or it is just gift like childstar. – Hafizh Ahsan Permana · 2 years, 5 months ago

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– Anuj Shikarkhane · 2 years, 5 months ago

How do you know that most people don't love maths??Log in to reply

– Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

I said it in the same way I would have said, "most people don't like to exercise". It's just a common observation, not a proven scientific fact.Log in to reply

– Anuj Shikarkhane · 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh!,I thought you were trying to prove that most people don't love maths.Log in to reply

– Riaz Ahmad Baboojee · 2 years, 5 months ago

because Math has been a difficult subject for decadesLog in to reply

– Anuj Shikarkhane · 2 years, 5 months ago

But if you practise, everything is easy.Log in to reply

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."---Robin Williams. – Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months agoLog in to reply

Can anyone suggest me any math book which is enjoyable – Megh Choksi · 2 years, 2 months ago

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– Agnishom Chattopadhyay · 2 years, 2 months ago

What topic?Log in to reply

@Agnishom Chattopadhyay – Megh Choksi · 2 years, 2 months ago

Geometry and AlgebraLog in to reply

i think this case rely on the ability of teachers school.patientce needed with students who dont like math or hated not punished but helped them develop their performance so as not becoming disappointed in their life. – Abdullah Ahmed · 2 years, 5 months ago

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Mahatama Gandhi's quotation was really very good. PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN AND OF COURSE A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY!

Anyhow, I wanted to know

WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU IS MATHEMATICS?WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?@Michael Mendrin I'll tag you here because I asked you the same questions. Maybe this a good note to give me the answer(or opinion, actually)! – Kartik Sharma · 2 years, 5 months ago

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– Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

I could give you pithy quotes about "what is mathematics, what is intelligence?", but, seriously, that question is such a weighty one, it deserves its own discussion note. To start somewhere, my opinion is that cosmic reality follows mathematical reality. I agree with Einstein on that one.Log in to reply

Well, not to be pessimistic or anything but there are just those talented geniuses that no matter how much you practice you will never touch their mathematical grace. doesn't stop math from being a great hobby though. – Johnson Adeleke · 2 years, 5 months ago

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- You can never match the wealth of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Steve Jobs. Does that mean that you give up all your earning potential and become a bum?

- You can never match the atheletic prowess of Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Michael Phelps, etc. Does that mean that you give up all sports and merely do it as a hobby?

I've seen numerous cases where hard work far outstrips talent. It is true that at middle school / high school, talent can give you a strong initial advantage in terms of interest in the subject + willingness to learn about it. However, innate talent will only get you so far, and if you do not put the work in, you will quickly lose out in University. Even in training for the International Mathematical Olympiad, the hardworking kid that puts in 4 hours of work each and everyday will quickly overtake the lazy genius.

To quote Thomas Edison (one of my favorites),

– Calvin Lin Staff · 2 years, 5 months agoLog in to reply

– Johnson Adeleke · 2 years, 5 months ago

But there are geniuses who do try hard as well. Now competing against that would just be futile and when people say it's not all about the glory, it actually really is. To finish that unsolved problem elegantly or to add to the vast mathematical knowledge we have already would be WAY better if one was a genius andcould solved problems faster. I hope it doesn't look like I have an angry tone hahaLog in to reply

In school we rush things. Most of the time and most student, don't have to time to love what they are doing. They just do it and pass technical requirements to finish a year or graduate. Some seek ways to skip and fake their result. For me absorbing math slowly and smoothly like you're just playing and enjoying it is a better way to be a math person. If you're not enjoying, try easier problems and topics that you can solve and understand at the moment. Math techniques that can solve real world problems are often hard. But they're worthy and amazing when you learned them and witnessed that they work!

For me, it's always better if you learn math not because to be the best or one of the best. You do it because it's just amazing like playing video games. You just sit and beat the boss! – Esrael Santillan · 2 years, 5 months ago

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– Anuj Shikarkhane · 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't approveLog in to reply

AFTER SEEING THIS POST , I WANT TO DO TO CALVIN LIN, A PRANAM!!!!! – Subrata Saha · 2 years, 5 months ago

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That cannot be a good idea. You'll end up destroying creativity and you will loose all inspiration in the world that exists – Agnishom Chattopadhyay · 2 years, 5 months ago

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On the contrary, if you read the article, Miles is encouraging adults / teachers to "encourage their students to follow a “slow-cooked math” approach where they can dig in and wrap their heads around what is going on in the math, without feeling judged for not understanding instantly",and arguing for the need for "many more adult leaders for math clubs for elementary and middle school kids". The idea is to inspire interest in different areas, as opposed to shove mathematical rhetoric down their throat. – Calvin Lin Staff · 2 years, 5 months ago

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I think it's a great mistake to teach students geometry by first starting them on standard Euclidean geometry and the two-column method of proof. They should first have a good idea of practical everyday geometry before getting into that. It's like teaching Latin first before English, on the theory that Latin historically came first before English. – Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

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No, my creativity has been enhanced. However, lets say Mr. X is a good painter. If I make him a math person, he might be able to produce mediocre math. However, the loss would be that the world would be deprived from the quality paintings.

Why not allow people to be a

personof what they like? – Agnishom Chattopadhyay · 2 years, 5 months agoLog in to reply

– Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

Would yoiu have said the same thing if the question had been, "How to turn every child into a music person"?Log in to reply

– Agnishom Chattopadhyay · 2 years, 5 months ago

Sure! turning every child into a music person will destroy variety and creativity all throughout the world. Personally, I do not like music a lotLog in to reply

– Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh, all right, I guess you've made your point. The distinction between voluntary and involuntary. But I think the spirit of this discussion is about at least trying to sell the art of math to students. How would they know what's fun unless they've been exposed to it in a fun way?Log in to reply

The right article with the wrong name – Agnishom Chattopadhyay · 2 years, 5 months ago

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– Michael Mendrin · 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, yes, it's like saying, "How to turn evey child into a success story". Not everybody wants to be a success story.Log in to reply

He is not advocating to force everyone to "major" in mathematics. His main argument is that "people who say they are not math people, do poorly in math. By simply changing that attitude, their performance can increase without a change in their ability level (as yet)."

At it's heart, it is about "The more you like something, the better you perform (or perceive you perform) on it." – Calvin Lin Staff · 2 years, 5 months ago

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– Mardokay Mosazghi · 2 years, 5 months ago

The question is how to inspire people to like math??Log in to reply