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Why I Write the Way I Do


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 a 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 all.

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.

Mathematically Yours,

John Webber