Why Math Class Is Boring—and What to Do About It

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Math is often seen as something you get or you don't. Most of us sit in class feeling like we don't. **The fault is not with the subject itself** but rather **with the way we teach it.** Mathematician Paul Lockhart wrote a 25-page essay titled *"A Mathematician's Lament"*, wherein he states that **students who feel that their mathematics classes are boring are right.**

**The true nature of math is art**. Unfortunately, we wrongly teach it in a way that would just as easily ruin any other art.

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**Consider what music or painting would look like if we treat it like the typical math curriculum.**

- What if music education was all about theory, dots and lines that make up the language of music?
*What if playing and listening to music was put off until college?* Then they do pre-paint-by numbers to prepare them for the main paint-by number sequence. From there, only the students who know their colours and brushes get to actually paint.*Or, what if art students had to spend years only studying paints and brushes?*

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Like art, **the purpose of math is the creation of patterns.** And the material we use to create patterns is ** ideas**. Math then belongs to the realm of fiction.

**Yet, when we teach math, we aim to repeat the steps of someone else's creation without asking how they got there, or why.**

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**An education in the art of mathematics is all about discovery.** It means solving a problem that speaks to us at that point in time. It is a slow and thoughtful process. But, of course, it is much simpler to post a set of rules than to guide an artist.

**Mathematics should be something we do because it is an interesting and challenging way of teaching ourselves new ways of thinking and expressing ourselves.**

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How much of the math you’ve learned in school do you use in everyday life?