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Cowbellpedia winners give antidote to understanding Mathematics

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Excited winners and teachers in the just concluded 2016 Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show have revealed the various strategies to “arrest” the Mathematics phobia.

In many parts of the world,  mathematics is regarded as the bedrock of science, spreads phobia in the minds of several students that has resulted in the below average performance in the subject at the Senior School Certificate examination conducted by the West African Examination Council and the National Examinations Council.

The mental “warfare” over the 2016 Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show 2016, which started with a qualifying written examination in March 2016, ended recently with Juliet Ekoko and Ayooluwa Oguntade, both of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State, winning the star prize in the Junior and Senior categories respectively.

Oguntade, who ascribed his success to his teachers and the Cowbell class that was organised by his school before the competition, advised his colleagues who have phobia for mathematics to confront their fears for the subject.

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“Mathematics phobia is about attitude, the solution is to face and resist your fear and it shall flee from you,” Oguntade said.

Ekoko, who aspires to be a medical doctor, also noted that the Mathematics phobia exists in the mind and only a positive mental attitude can defeat it.

“It is an unreal fear, and the moment you don’t give in to its intimidation, you have conquered it. It is like a toothless roaring lion, which looks dangerous, but in the final analysis, harmless,” she said.

Oluwatunmise Idowu, a finalist in the junior category, hinted that only a constant practice of the subject can erase the fear.

“A proverb says familiarity brings contempt. It is like that for Mathematics; the more you get yourself familiar through constant practice, the more you rise above the fear. I spent an average of four hours on Mathematics daily, and it has worked for me,” Idowu who set a new competition record by answering 17 questions in 60 seconds, said.

Idowu’s sentiment was reiterated by Adegoke Aromolaran, a finalist in the senior category, who disclosed that the subject has become a sort of analgesic for him, through constant practice.

Aromolaran, an Ijesa Prince, added that he practices Mathematics for five hours daily.

Aside the students, the teachers also revealed their methods and tactics of handling the phobia.

Kola Bello, a Mathematics teacher with The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State, who is also the teacher of Oguntade, explained that since a lot of students see mathematics as difficult subject.

Bello advised them to attack the subject because like in football, attack is the best form of defence.

He added that Mathematics is about mentality and that both the teachers and the students must be in a proper frame of mind to excel.

He said: “I not only teach, but I inspire my students. I behave like Coach Jose Mourinho, formerly of Chelsea FC, but now with Manchester United FC of England. Mathematics is about mentality; once you believe it is difficult, it will become difficult.

“That is why I tune the mind of my students and advice them to have a winning mentality.”

Wasiu Oladimeji, a Mathematics teacher at Ota Total Academy, has likened solving of Mathematics problems to the simple mechanism of driving a car.

Oladimeji added that Mathematics equation is about rules and methods that apply in any part of the world.

Also, Essien Bassey, a Mathematics teacher at Pegasus High School, Eket, Akwa Ibom State, disclosed that her method of “preaching Mathematics like a church sermon” has helped greatly in sustaining the interest of her students in the subject.


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