Letter of the week: Interest plus good teacher equals great maths scores

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Every parent, teacher and student – especially students – should read the article “Learn for the joy of it and not just to pass exams” (Jan 17).

To study anything just to pass an examination is like drinking and eating just to visit the toilet.

I taught mathematics for more than 30 years before I retired.

I do not know how to teach anyone to pass a maths exam, but I do know how to teach maths to those who are interested.

However, all students have to pass their mathematics examinations. But if they are interested and know mathematics, passing an examination with

flying colours is just a beneficial side effect.

The worst subject to study only for the purpose of passing exams is maths. That can be excruciatingly painful. Mathematics demands curiosity, passion, mental exertion, frequent drills and continuity of study. These are prices which the non-interested will not be willing to pay. No wonder so many hate mathematics.

Many will be shocked to hear that mathematics can be interesting.

Aside from being very useful, it can also be very absorbing (Mathematics can help to solve day-to-day problems, says acclaimed Vietnamese don,

Jan 17).

Ask a chess player what is so interesting about playing chess. Ask those who risk their lives to climb Mount Everest what is so interesting about climbing a snow-covered peak.

If students are taught by qualified, passionate and inspiring mathematics teachers from a young age, it can even be a lifelong hobby for them.

Now that my mobility is limited by an ageing body and a terrifying virus, how do I spend my time? Yes, I study mathematics.

Ee Teck Ee

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