Excerpted from the article “Fear of Math” by Ashutosh Jogalekar, posted to 3 Quarks Daily:
But I don’t want to digress from the bigger lesson that I learnt and which I have tried to communicate to students I have met over the years. This is that being “bad at math” has very little to do with innate intelligence and everything to do with psychology and self-confidence. The vast majority of us can be reasonably good at math if we try, and some of us can be very good. Unfortunately a bad teacher can hobble that self-confidence while a good teacher and self-motivation can restore and inspire it. But the most important thing is to believe in yourself, have confidence and try, and discourage your family from joking around too much. That’s why I think parents should never allow their kids to believe that they are “bad at X”, whether X is math, music or sports. Self-fulfilling prophecies by definition have a way of coming true.
You can read the full article HERE.