By Vic Odarve

“I hate math. It gives a headache every time I enter the class. The lecturer just copies a problem and its answer in a textbook and do little discussion, then complete the lecture period”, muttered one student after two- hour talk. A common complaint among students!

Unlike other courses where memory counts with a little class discussion, math lecturers must solve problems using mathematical calculations, discuss in a readable and compact manner, and persuade students to contemplate and enjoy math. Computation is a lifeblood in problem solving; hence math calculation skill of a teacher is needed. Further a teacher must have a deep understanding to enable a detailed step by step discussions as to whys the actions are done. Communication prowess allows the lecturers to organize the teaching methods in an efficient manner without much complication to students’ understanding. An amazing picture inside the schoolroom! That’s how a competent math lecturer teaches.

As solving math problems and exercises form part most of the activities in the classroom, lecturers must possess an outstanding skill in math computation techniques. Math calculations are the primary elements in problems solving and most students struggle in pain over this country; hence math lecturers must have an extended knowledge in math. Without this skill, course content roadmap may suffer; often part of the topics may not be discussed on what is supposed to be completed in a semester.

Ability to discuss well every step of the math calculation facilitates attentiveness of the students. Sensing that students fail to grasp the manner how the steps are done, the lecturer will slowly expound the subject matter and occasionally review the ways in every solution step. Lecturers must explain the principles and theorems succinctly and clearly; draw some parallel application to our everyday lives. A little review in a discussion that initially baffled them will all of a sudden make sense. Failure to understand the steps as to whys they are done results to poor math foundation. Then impending disaster awaits on the next level math course, as poor preparation takes its toll.

With competent lecturer, students experience a quite different teaching approach and style. The picture inside the classroom is clear: smooth sailing discussion, where all eyes will be on the board and ears to the lecturers and topics appear easy and simple. Relax and confident, lecturers can explain the course topics in a detailed manner; repeat the discussion as if they know what students are asking for.

Math courses are indeed difficult, but with competent lecturers, students who traditionally struggle math begin to build confidence. Math becomes a relevant and never a boring course. So, with a vibrant, expert, and competent math lecturer mathematics is simple and interesting. Good lecturers have the power to change the students’ negative attitude towards math.!

Students must enjoy and love math. Mathematics does have a purpose and a meaning. Being the language of nature, math unfolds the secrets of our universe… from dark matter to the gravitational waves – what are sometimes referred to as ripples in the curvature of space-time. In math competent lecturers really matter!