For many people, math is a 4-letter word. Some
students freak out with math-related classes.
To help alleviate those math fears, I have used
a 3-part approach with Math
for Business and Life: keep it simple, make it friendly,
and make it real-life.
When conveying concepts in the text, I have tried
to keep it simple, using short, concise
ideas with straight-forward language. No $2 words
to impress people. No long sentences that go on
and on. My goal has been to write so students
do not have to be rocket scientists to understand
the concepts. As students see how easy the concepts
are to understand, they start to lose some of
that math anxiety.
I have tried to keep the text friendly. I am not
a stuffy person by nature, and enjoy writing in
conversational tone. You will notice, the word "we" is
used a lot, rather than "you." I hope
that students feel that I am on their side; we
are working as a team. I have been told by instructors
and students alike that the writing style is like
I am there talking with students. I am very proud
of that. I think the conversational tone helps
students feel like math is not so scary after
I have also, with the help of hundreds of instructors,
tried to keep the text real-life. We have avoided
contrived situations, like Mary is 12 years older
than Albert and together their ages total 74.
Who would be solving such a problem in real life?
The existence of these type problems only reinforces
student's perceptions of math classes—When
will I ever use this? Having a text with real-life
problems helps students see that math really can
be used. They start to see that math is their
friend, to help solve real problems in life. As
the light clicks on, the fear of math subsides.
I hope you agree with our approach in Math
for Business and Life. Please get in touch
if you have any ideas or suggestions that will
help us reach students; I would love to hear from
instructors and students alike.