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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

entry arrow8:10 PM | The Math in You

The Atlantic just published an article that declares "being bad at Math" to be a myth.

This is interesting because I grew up believing I was never a Math person. In grade school, I somehow refused to memorize the multiplication table, for example, because I kept finding myself asking things like, "Why is 2 x 2 = 4?" Always the why.

So every time we'd get these competition quizzes in class, like pitting two classmates together in a two-lane race -- where every correct answer to flashcard mathematical problems gave you a chance to step forward where the teacher (and the finish line) was -- I'd lose. The winner got to sit down, and the loser had to go over the race once more. One time in Grade III, I lost to the ENTIRE class.

(But, whatever, I graduated valedictorian anyway, ha.)

I was always bad in Math, except when they gave us those "window" exams, and for some reason, I'd always rate high. Not until junior high in Silliman University did I learn to love Math. I loved the intense concentration every exam demanded. I loved it, and all because of Prof. Alice Mamhot. She was a patient teacher. She knew the value of listening, and so she refused to have us write down notes while she was lecturing, always intoning to us a sentence in mock Spanish: "No puede calabang en grande de baha." And after we were done understanding everything she'd written on the board, she'd throw up her hands and say, "Copy break!" And then we'd write everything down. I learned to love Math with her. And during one periodical exam, I astounded everybody by getting a 99/100. I got a grade in the 90s that year.

So yes, we all have good Math in us. We just need good teachers.

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