This would appear to be a very contentious statement, with many people suggesting that in fact Maths is anything but fun.
Possibly the clearest suggestion I’ve heard is that Maths is the ‘marmite subject’. That would account for those that enjoy Maths being accompanied in lessons by those that would like to be anywhere else.
Allow me to give you two examples:
1) I have just had the pleasure of being served by an ex-student who uttered that phrase “the Maths is fun”. Admittedly, he is going to be studying Maths at university.
2) Then there are those that can’t get on with Maths, no matter how hard they apply themselves, but appreciate the effort that you need to put in.
However, there is a potential pitfall here and it comes in the form of how those students experience the delivery of Maths in the classroom. We have all given up on something at some point (exercise, dieting, saving money etc.) and often that is because it seems so hard or something that is beyond us. This is how so many students feel about Maths, and therefore it is not a surprise when they ‘give up’.
So how do we ensure that this doesn’t happen? Is it as simple as making lessons fun?
Yes and no. Fun is a very broad term that can be misinterpreted. Making a lesson fun is easy. Making a week of lessons fun is fairly straightforward, but continuing that throughout the school year, and then into the next year is very difficult.
I am, of course, talking about fun in terms of ‘new and exciting ideas and resources’ not telling jokes and dressing as a clown.
I teach in a middle school now and know that when my students leave they have a minimum of 3 more years of Maths ahead of them. My job is not to produce a finished article but to produce students that are ready, and enthused, for the next stage of the journey.
I like to think my lessons can be ‘fun’ but we still have the balance of doing those exercises that require quiet focused application from each student.
Maintaining that balance allows those students to improve their skills set, and makes them want to take it further.
This is my goal.