It's time we stopped punishing children for not being good at maths
Why when it comes to intelligence why is it that creative intelligence is not valued as much as mathematical intelligence?
As someone whose aptitude always lay more towards literature and music more so than maths and business I often felt undervalued at school.
It frustrated me then that I was seen as having a lesser intelligence and it frustrates me even more now as a parent.
While my eldest child has a head for numbers my youngest, even though still a toddler, seems far more drawn to the same things that I always was. She might end up being a maths wiz yet, but what if she's not? Should the education system really be allowed to make her feel like her skills and talents are less important than her sibling's?
I've come across so many adults that feel like they have to make a disclaimer that they're not good with maths. I've done this myself but why do we do this?
People very rarely feel the need to explain why they're not creative so why do those unsure around equations think they have to explain themselves?
I know for myself it goes back to being in school. Even while I excelled at English and Art I couldn't help but feel the sting of unfairness that higher level Maths was worth more points than higher level English in the Leaving Cert.
I know part of the reason for this is to encourage more students to take up higher level Maths but for those who have always struggled with numbers, it can feel like a punishment.
On one hand, children are being told they are all equal but in reality, the way exams and school curriculums are arranged make that not the case.
Downplaying the importance of creative thinking in children can not only be demoralising but can also lead to them doubting their intellectual abilities.
If they only receive criticism for not being mathematical and no praise for being talented in other areas they begin to see their skills as not having any worth.
It's something that's never made sense to me. We use language, reading and writing on a daily basis, but only a small portion of us will need to use complex math. Come on how many of us joke about how little we've used the likes of algebra since finishing school?
So why is it that while a child is still attending school that their intelligence is determined by their ability with numbers?
Those working in the arts have called for schools to put more emphasis on the importance of creativity, not only so children with an aptitude for subjects in that area can flourish but to help all pupils.
Classes like art, music and drama can help young children vent the stresses that school can bring, particularly when exams like the junior or leaving cert are approaching.
While schools may think they are doing a good thing by pushing students to excel at maths, in actuality all it does is leave some students behind.
All children are unique and bring unique talents and abilities to the table and no child should feel that their attributes mean less than that of any other child.