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Why Maths?

Introduction to ‘value, belief and effort’

National Numeracy have identified three attitudes of mind which you need in order to improve your mathematics: value, belief and effort. Rachel Riley, star mathematician, will lead you through the resources on this page to help you see why maths skills are so valuable, showing you the benefits of having the belief that you can improve, and giving you some practical tips on maintaining the effort that will be needed. You will also be able to see how other learners feel towards each of these three attitudes of mind.


Value

Maths is much more than just a school subject. In fact, it’s an important skill for everyday life, as well as in most jobs. You’re probably already using maths all the time, in all sorts of situations in work and everyday life. To improve your maths skills, you need to see its value in your daily life.

See the value in maths

Why numeracy matters

Why should you bother with maths? What’s the point? What use is it to you?

Maths doesn’t end in the classroom – it’s used all the time, as an essential set of tools for solving problems in all sorts of situations in work and everyday life. Improving your maths skills can help you go further in your course, employment and in your daily life.

In this video from City & Guilds and National Numeracy, Rachel Riley explores the value of maths.

Look at the videos below and pick the one that is most relevant to your career and aspirations. You will hear other learners talk about maths and how they use it every day.

Why are maths skills important in automotive and engineering jobs? Hear some learners talk about how they use maths in their course.
 
Why are maths skills important in automotive and engineering jobs? Hear some learners talk about how they use maths in their course.
   
Why are maths skills important in hairdressing and beauty therapy jobs? Hear some learners talk about how they use maths in their course.
Why are maths skills important in the plumbing industry? Hear some learners talk about how they use maths in their course.
   
Why are maths skills important in professional cookery jobs? Hear some learners talk about how they use maths in their course.
 

Now think about the ways you already use maths in your own life. Do you need to solve problems, handle information or work with numbers in your everyday life? Do you use maths in your course, at home or in your job? We hope you’re convinced – maths is everywhere, and improving your maths is one of the biggest steps forward you can take in your work, your studies, and in everyday life.


Belief

To make progress in maths, you will need to get over any anxiety, or belief that you are ‘not a maths person’. Everyone does maths every day as a part of their daily routine and you must already have a ‘maths brain’, or you wouldn’t be able to do these things. The knowledge and belief that your abilities are not set in stone, that you can improve, will open the door to improvement.

Believe in yourself

Why self-belief is the key

Can you do it? Can you become a ‘maths person’?

If you are convinced that you just ‘can’t do maths’, then it can be really hard to motivate yourself to try. Fortunately, evidence shows that everyone has the ability to learn maths; we’ve all got a ‘maths brain’. With effort, anyone can improve their maths, and believing this opens the door to progress.

In this video from City & Guilds and National Numeracy, Rachel Riley discusses how anyone can improve their maths.

Look at the videos below to hear other learners talk about how they have come round to feeling more positive about maths.

Evidence shows that everyone has the ability to learn maths; we’ve all got a ‘maths brain’.
If you are convinced that you just ‘can’t do maths’, then it can be really hard to motivate yourself to try.

Think about some of the ways you already use maths, in everyday life, your course or at work. Since you’re already doing maths, you must already have a ‘maths brain’. Making progress in maths means building on what’s already there.


Effort

Even when you can see the value of maths and believe that you can improve, you are still going to have to put in some effort. Improving your maths may feel hard, but this is because learning does feel hard, not because you can’t do it! You’ll need to make the effort to put in the time, but also to get started in the first place and then keep going when you hit obstacles. We’ll help you find the best ways of doing this.

Make an effort to improve

Why you shouldn’t give up

What do you need to do next? How can you get better at maths?

Like everything else, making progress in maths requires effort. Effort means taking the hard step of getting started, then keeping going, even when things get tough. Remember, mistakes are learning opportunities!

In this video from City & Guilds and National Numeracy, Rachel Riley discusses how anyone can improve their maths.

You’ll need to come up with your ways to maintain effort, rather than just telling yourself to ‘work harder!’ Watch the video below for some more ideas of strategies to try when you get stuck on a maths problem. You can also hear from other learners about what works for them.

In this video from City & Guilds and National Numeracy, Rachel Riley explores some different strategies to try.

Like everything else, making progress in maths requires effort. You’ll need to come up with ways to keep going when you get stuck on a maths problem. Watch the video to hear from other learners what works for them.

All three of the factors that we have looked at – ‘value, belief, and effort’ – fit together to make progress in maths possible. Get these attitudes right in the first place, and things will be much easier. So, remember the key messages:

  • Value: you need to see the point, the value of improving your maths
  • Belief: you can do it – you are a maths person – belief in this will really help
  • Effort: like anything else that’s worthwhile long term – improving your maths will take some effort, patience and resilience.