The Stigma Around Mathematics

Editor's Note

WISAARKHU aims to provide a diversity, not necessarily a jointly exhaustive collection, of perspectives on a chosen theme related to the learning and teaching of Mathematics. It is a magazine for inspiring, for creating awareness, for sharing experiences, for communicating, for connecting, and for reflecting.

It is not a research journal. It does not purport to endorse any particular opinion or approach to the learning and teaching of mathematics. Its readership is intended for all from across the globe with an interest in mathematics.

Each perspective expressed in the content of WISAARKHU is that of the author. It does not purport to reflect the opinions of the editor or Stellenbosch University or the affiliations of the authors.

Each theme aligned with one of the quarterly Psychology of Abstract Mathematics discussions. The choice of each discussion theme is inspired by a challenge encountered in the learning and teaching of mathematics;

In this way the theme ‘Competition or Collaboration in Mathematics’ evolved for the first volume of WISAARKHU. There are four topics each speaking to a sub-theme of the overall theme that evolved from the contributions, namely, perspectives within and beyond mathematics, voices of students, impact on the self, influence on learning and teaching of mathematics. Throughout the magazine you will meet students, mathematicians, teachers, psychologists, educationalists, and others interested in mathematics.

No matter your interest in or experience of Mathematics, I hope you will read this magazine acknowledging the intention with which it has been written.

Prof. Ingrid Rewitzky


TOPIC 1: Are Mathematics Skills Important in the Workplace and Everyday Life?

What can you do with a Math degree?

In this article, Ellen Xiaoyue Sun describes how her studies in mathematics provide the perfect support for her career as a quantitative research analyst at JP Morgan Asset Management. Read more about her experiences and see whether a career in finance may be of interest to you.

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My Math Journey

In this article, Mark Liu touches on the benefits of having a maths background for working as a computer programmer at a start-up specializing in self-driving cars.

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Math as a Language

Jianing Qi describes his progress with learning the language of mathematics. He shares his personal journey and valuable insights into how this dynamic language has been relevant to his world.

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My Journey

Sivanagi Reddy Modugula shares with the readers his motivation to do a masters program in mathematics. He highlights how mathematics has given him the skills to excel and encourages students to explore interdisciplinary fields to gain a competitive edge in the job market

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Mathematics, a chameleon

With a solid foundation in mathematics, Lucy Zuo describes how she has been able to transition between different fields in her career thus far – from staffing and talent acquisition to educational technologies and data science.

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TOPIC 2: Stereotypes: An Obstacle or Trigger to Succeed with Mathematics?

My sojourn with mathematics

Dr Mgr. Mária Ždímalová, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Descriptive Geometry, Faculty in Civil Engineering, Slovak University of Bratislava, Slovakia

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Ugh, Mathematics

In this article, Kyla Raoult discusses some important ideas about the stigma surrounding Mathematics. She also offers some valuable insights into how we can start...

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Mathematics will find a way

This contribution is about the universal language of mathematics that opens a door to the world. The importance of understanding mathematics is also discussed.

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Tristan Barnard encourages young students of Mathematics to persist through challenge and hardship, to master the discipline of mind that sees all failure as part...

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My dream to be a mathematician

Senior lecturer in the mathematics department at Rhodes university, Dr Andriantiana, shares his inspiring journey to his current dream job. In this article he shares...

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The 3 Students

Three high school students who have worked extremely hard to break the stigma that one is either good at maths or not. They share their...

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About the Cover

In this piece Nino Mekanarishvili tried to express her perception of Mathematics in an artistic way. It symbolises how mathematical ideas can grow and give us an opportunity to experience their beauty.

TOPIC 3: Can we break the Stigma Humanizing Mathematics?

The art of distinguishing

Ever wondered what it means to know and do mathematics? Stellenbosch University lecturers Zurab Janelidze and Sophie Marques share their conclusions after months of debate...

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TOPIC 4: What do we Learn from Other Disciplines?

Mindful mathematics

Professor Ellen Langer shares her experience and insight of how we can learn about mathematics and any other discipline in a more mindful way so...

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The paper is describing helping children with maths-anxiety through research-based support. It supports the guardians/parents and adults in children’s lives who are wanting to provide...

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In mathematics we trust

From Zeno’s paradox to understanding convergent sequences, mathematics has come a long way. However, the popular idea of mathematics oscillates between it being perceived as...

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More coming soon!