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Buying Into Positive Math Talk

North America has become a society of people who think it’s cool - even trendy - to hate math. I have heard the words, “I am not a math person,” or similar so many times that I now cringe at the statement. I find myself urging people to give math another chance as an adult because we are all capable of learning math.

For some reason, our generation learned to hate math from a young age and now we are making the mistake of perpetuating those feelings onto our children. We would never tell our children that we can’t read, so why are we so quick to tell them we can’t do math? There has been a lot of work lately to change the math narrative and we can all play a part in this.

Change begins with our vocabulary. Changing the words we use with our children around learning math can drastically change our own mindset and their mindsets about math. The image below shows some suggestions for how we can reframe our thoughts when working with children.

It can be difficult to reframe our thinking when we carry strong feelings of anxiety and angst about a topic, as many do about math, but we need to remember how children pick up on our actions, emotions, and words and mimic what we do. We don’t want the next generation to grow up with the same math anxiety that exists in society today, so we need to make deliberate changes to prevent it.

Math anxiety often begins at a very young age and usually is associated with homework. Children and parents continue to find themselves frustrated with math work that is sent home to be completed. The next time you find yourself in this situation, try some of the suggestions below to help facilitate an easier homework session.

In being deliberate about choosing positive wording when talking about math at home, our children have a better chance of developing positive feelings around learning math and are less likely to develop math anxiety.

We are all trying our best when it comes to raising our children. We want to see them experience success, especially in those things we may not have felt successful in. Let’s all try to build a generation that is not afraid of math. It begins with us.

Keep spreading the math love <3

Alice Aspinall

Twitter: @aliceaspinall, @everyonecanmath

Instagram: @everyonecanlearnmath

Facebook: @everyonecanlearnmath



Alice Aspinall, B.Math(Hon), B.Ed, is a Portuguese-Canadian secondary mathematics educator in Ontario, Canada. She is a strong advocate of the growth mindset and is continually looking for ways to build young people’s confidence in math and to make math fun, challenging, and satisfying. Alice is also a champion for females in STEM by encouraging girls to pursue science and mathematics both in high school and in post-secondary education. Alice believes everyone can learn math and she is on a mission to prove it.

Everyone Can Learn Math is an inspiring children’s story about applying a growth mindset to learning mathematics. Follow Amy’s journey as she realizes that learning math requires hard work and perseverance, just like most things in life. Available at most online bookstore including Amazon:

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