Who's Fault? _ Is it his fault that he lacks confidence with word problems? Not entirely. Our actions, as educators, seem to imply a belief that solving word problems should come more naturally than simpler operations like arithmetic and algebra. Many parents and teachers feel justified in encouraging (i.e. forcing) a child to work hundreds or thousands of math worksheets, drill multiplication tables, long division... but few encourage solving hundreds of story problems. One suspects that the relative ease of creating and checking ordinary math worksheets keeps the focus of math education on simple, atomic operations at the expense of more holistic story problems.

As a math tutor for 15 years, I have tutored hundreds of students from all the grade levels. I found most of the students were not comfortable with mathematics. More than 80% of them said, "the mathematics is very hard." Why do most of the students find mathematics a hard subject and try to avoid it? The answer for the above question is hidden in a simple example. I always give the example of stairs to my students, and giving the same example in this article. I compare the steps of a staircase to the concepts in mathematics. As this is very hard to reach higher floors of a building without stairs (or elevators these days), same way learn higher concepts in mathematics without learning basic concepts is very hard.

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