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Excerpt from Changing attitudes key to making kids better at maths, Duncan Murray,, 20 July 2022

Australia’s proficiency in maths has slid in the global rankings over the past 20 years, with one expert calling for a “richer” approach.

Helping Australian kids get better at maths may be as simple as shifting negative attitudes, according to one prominent education expert.

Many students see maths as a subject only certain types of people are good at, which can stop them from trying to engage, according to Dr Laura Tuohilampi from the University of New South Wales School of Education.

“Think how often you might hear someone say, ‘I’m not a maths person’, yet everyone uses the same critical thinking skills you need to solve problems in maths in your everyday life,” Dr Tuohilampi said.

“In reality, the largest group of people actively using maths are the people who think they’re no good at it.”

Dr Tuohilampi champions what she calls “maths for humans”, and a rethinking of maths curriculums to appeal more to students’ natural sense of wonder and curiosity.


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