Helping children learn math is her passion – interview with Professor Diana Laurillard, University of London

2012-03-13 15:39 by Johan Ranstam

Our app Number Bonds by Thinkout is created to help people understand numbers as early as possible. Understanding numbers is vital for learning math. Something Professor Diana Laurillard has understood – something that made her devote her research on how to help children with dyscalculia and number understanding issues. It’s about much more than just the numbers itself: on a personal level it’s about self confidence, on the society level it’s about creating a functional environment for everyone. Read the interview with Professor Laurillard, on who’s research Number Bonds by Thinkout is based.

1) Why have you spent so much time working with pedagogics and mathematics?

I used to teach maths at university level and was shocked at how little people really understood maths, even when they had passed exams. Now my focus is on those who struggle even to understand the concept of number and basic arithmetic. It is worth my time because it is so important to individuals and it is possible to create interactive games that really make a difference to them.

2) Why is mathematics so important? Couldn’t one go about an entire life without ever caring about it?

It is fundamental to understanding the world around us. Mathematical modelling is how we understand the universe, the economy, how to succeed in sport, the world of business, the world of finance and the world of IT…. Many things. The people who can use it are those who are most powerful. Powerful people who fail to use it well can destroy our society. People who cannot use it are oppressed and exploited by those who can. It is as important as being able to read and write, but our education systems are content with far too little capability in maths.

3) Do you have any tips to parents regarding their children and mathematics  – number difficulties or not?

Parents can help their children by being proud of their ability to be good at it and sympathetic if they find it hard. Struggling with maths is nothing to do with how clever you are. It is very good to talk about maths, to get the child to describe what they are doing and why, as this can help them see what they are uncertain about, and can help the parent see what they don’t understand. For parents who struggle with maths, never let the child think it is ok to ignore it; instead get the school to help them.