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Born without a maths brain? There really is no such thing

 No one is born good or bad at maths (Shutterstock)

There’s no such thing as a “maths brain”, it’s all in the mind say experts.

The myth of the “maths brain” impacts learning and progress. It’s how we think about our ability and our attitude that matters most.

We’ve probably all heard someone say “she’s good at maths, it’s easy for her” or “he’s got a maths brain”.

But no one is born good or bad at maths, it’s how we approach it and how we learn to think about it, says Dr Junaid Mubeen director of education at Whizz Education.

Dr Mubeen believes stereotypes about who is “good at maths” and what maths is are unhelpful. Maths is everywhere, in music, cooking and even navigation around a new city.

“We all have a maths brain, in the sense that the brain has evolved to think mathematically. In our day-to-day lives we are natural pattern-seekers and problem-solvers,” says Dr Mubeen

"There's an idea in education called growth mindset, which is the belief that your intelligence is not fixed and with effort and hard work you can become smarter. If you promote that message it can lead to better learning," says Dr Mubeen.

“Whenever anyone talks about having a maths brain, or not, what they are really talking about is mental arithmetic.

"But maths is about so much more than that - it’s about seeing patterns, solving problems and thinking creatively."

“I would argue we all have a maths brain," added Dr Mubeen. "But there is a particular set of calculation skills promoted in schools, which does not come as naturally to humans, and which some people just happen to get on with better.

“You don’t see people giving up so easily in other subject. This idea you can do it or not, that it’s so black and white, seems unique to maths.

“If we think about maths as a creative subject - one that revolves around patterns and interesting problems - then we'll realise that we're all wired for it.

“It’s okay to recognise that some students show a stronger aptitude for maths than others, but education is about helping every child secure a strong foundation in the subject, which is absolutely possible.

“They are not all necessarily going to become mathematicians but they can all learn to think mathematically. Giving up on students' mathematical potential is nothing short of cruel.”

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