Break a leg with Math’s

Emmanuel David Maforo describes his personal stigma, path and way to improving math learning. He shares how to break a leg with maths.

Illustration by Sara Eskandari

The word “math” can be intimidating to the ears of many and even scary to hear as it has gripped the minds of many students and even individuals in this country, Tanzania. The worst part is that it remains terrifying to many as it is a compulsory subject from pre-school until tertiary level for some. Many students have developed this irrational fear of mathematics and it affects them a lot since it limits their potential to unlock amazing and fruitful daily life applications of mathematics and even future academic careers. Once being math-phobic myself, there are several techniques that I have applied to excel in math.

Among others, I applied a unique and powerful technique of “Changing my attitude towards math”. This means I started being optimistic about mathematics and stopped being scared of numbers. This can be achieved through numerous ways, but the simplest is having a mantra of telling oneself “math is not hard after all”, contrary to my previous perspective where I used to tell myself that math is tough which sadly manifested itself in reality.

The other technique I applied is “Improvement of learning skills”. Believe it or not, words alone cannot result in a miracle. You don’t need rocket science to know this is so, actions must be put in place, namely an improvement of learning skills like grasping knowledge right from class and avoiding getting it from a secondary source, let’s say a colleague. This limits confusion and ambiguity, and ultimately results in less panic and frustration caused by failing to understand Aconcepts taught in class.

Illustration by Liani Malherbe

Another technique I have applied is “Go extra with math”. Going the extra mile always pays off. In the beginning, I unfortunately did the opposite and did the bare minimum, which is unacceptable. Going the extra mile includes reading more books, solving more questions other than the ones provided at tutorial sessions, attending seminars religiously, and being an active participant in group discussions.

I also applied a technique of “Concentrate on weak areas”. Focusing on the right areas that need concentration makes all the difference, so first one has to identify the areas that one is weak at and try to fix the root cause of it and ultimately be a pro in no time. This can be done by asking for help from individuals who have mastered those areas that one finds difficult to comprehend.

Currently I am pursuing a Bachelor in Accounting and Finance in the Public Sector degree. I have seen the applicability of mathematics studies in various areas such as the costing of products, jobs and processes, tax returns compilations, investment appraisals, financial analysis, business valuations, budgeting, queuing systems in financial institutions, assignment problems, and project management techniques. Thus the knowledge of mathematics does not just result in understanding numbers, but it gives ways to interpret business issues in the real world. I encourage my fellow scholars who still have a mathematics phobia to open their minds and start breaking a leg by going extra on their practices and changing their attitudes.

Emmanuel David Maforo

Bachelor Of Accounting And Finance In Public Sector University: Mzumbe university, Morogoro, Tanzania

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