How Adults Can Sabotage a Child’s Academic Success in Science and Mathematics

They were the beacon of hope and a light into the future almost a half-century ago. Two of the most beloved wonders of the world, then—science and mathematics—have become two of the most controversial subjects in today’s public and private education system. Science is suffering from variable results based off shaky theories and continual research into itself, causing its constants to change—changes that most people cannot or will not understand or accept.

Child's Academic Success in Mathematics

Meanwhile, mathematics suffers from an overall deep dislike of the subject by many people and by the birth of technology, which grants quick access to complex equations by a sequence of keystrokes—much unlike the mid-1900s, and before, when problem-solving was drawn out in laboratory notebooks or on classroom chalkboards.

Conversations have turned away from bouncing ideas and thoughts from one person to the next. Now, we often repeat aloud the words and numbers displayed on screens from waves of data bounced between the electronic devices. With this disconnect applied to the fundamentals of math, it is quite easy to forgo understanding the entire equation, ending up just spitting out the answer.

So, how can people really learn about and like math when they don’t want or need to? It doesn’t help that parents reinforce this behavior when they pull out their phones to calculate a tip or convert fractions into decimals. Why would a student choose to pick up a pencil and a lab notebook if the mentality toward math is to use a smartphone to come up with an answer?

As it turns out, all of these anxieties and fears of science and mathematics affect the ability of children in the classroom. Some believe it has to do with the fact that “parents’ and teachers’ own math anxieties and their beliefs about whether math ability is a stable trait may prove to be significant influences on children’s math attitudes.”1

Child's Academic Success in Science

Another example of detrimental effects these attitudes toward math have on children are the deep-seeded gender stereotypes about girls’ inabilities to excel in mathematics. This, alone, could prevent a student from fulfilling her potential simply because of a culture perpetuates this belief about both math and science.

Science is constantly under the scrutiny of religious leaders. It is hard to imagine that the creationism and evolution-based ideologies could be any further apart. Most creationist leaders toss aside scientific research that contradicts creationism, no matter how solid or well-researched it may be.

In some states, where religion plays a huge part of daily life, this ideology can affect the classroom significantly. Students are not taught that science is a living, breathing subject. Instead, many are taught that science had its shot and has, in some ways, failed to prove itself.

It is imperative that adults stress the importance of science and math, and the advantages they provide us in improving our culture and careers, as well as our understanding of the vast universe we call home. With these key elements in mind, students can prepare themselves for a bright and successful future ahead.