From the ability to think critically, to solving complex problems and analyzing data, all of these capabilities to process information and solve it needs a potential, called analytical thinking skills. These are crucial for everyday life. But, is this skillset also required for subjects like Mathematics?
Well, analytical thinking has an extensive role in improving math skills and vice versa. From performing computations to understanding formulas and definitions, other concepts of math cannot be taught without the presence of analytical thinking. But at the same time, mathematics, as a subject can boost analytical skills to a substantial level. This helps students understand and trace the steps behind a concept rather than learning formulas through practice and rote memorization.
In this post, we will dig deeper and explain how math and analytical thinking are intrinsically linked to each other and how improving either of the two improves the other.
The Deep-Rooted Link Between Math and Analytical Thinking
Math and analytical thinking are so amalgamated into each other as both concepts and skills; it is hard to define which one is more significant to the other. In theory, the core concept of linking math and analytical thinking is because mathematics requires logical decision-making to come up with a solution; whereas analytical thinking also requires solving problems using trial and error methods, on which maths highly depends.
Research says that math has two concepts: analytical thinking and procedural thinking; analytical thinking is required as a skill since math is a subject studied in the abstract. Analytical thinking aims to simplify the process of math learning by conceptualizing the elements such as lemmas, theorems, etc.
Another research suggests the characteristic profile of analytical thinking in mathematics problem-solving. According to this research, analytical thinking helps break down a concept in math, scrutinize it, and then develop a solution based on logic. To line up in brevity, math standards require analytical thinking to help understand a concept to its fullest.
Let’s look at an example: When it comes to mathematics, no two questions or problems can be alike. A student might have to mold the formula in his own way to fetch the answer to a particular question. For instance, the area of a square is derived from a different formula, whereas the formula to take out the area of a rectangle is different. But what if the area is to be derived from a figure which looks something like this –
In this case, the student would have to push harder and do the needful by subtracting the area of the square from the rectangle to get the final answer. All of these need analytical thinking skills.
Analytical Thinking Skills – A Must-Have For Math?
Almost every concept or element in math requires students to think analytically, making sharp observations. From money counting to time management, cultivating analytical thinking in kids can help them improve their math skills. How?
- Analytical thinking skills build logic and sharpen logical thinking, and math is one subject that greatly depends on the same. Math equations require students to use their logical skills to come up with a solution. Thus, improving analytical thinking can also help improve math skills.
- Analytical thinking is a way that enables people to break the problem into smaller segments and find solutions easily. It is especially important in math as it makes complex problems much more accessible and understandable.
- Analytical skills enhance the problem-solving skills of a person. This characteristic helps in approaching math concepts and questions more willingly. It enables a student to become a problem-solver rather than someone who frets on the difficulty level of the questions.
- Math is a subject that requires great comprehension skills while reading the question. Many students find it challenging to understand what the question requires. Analytical thinking develops logical thinking skills which help to understand the requirements of the subject and topic better.
Problem solving – A mathematical skill to boost analytical skills
- Since math is one subject that involves solving an equation step-by-step to come up with a solution, it can enhance analytical thinking in many ways. Basically, mathematics requires students to use high logic and sharpened skills to solve a problem; thus, practicing myriad types of math problems can help students build logic and solution-forming abilities – the base of analytical thinking.
- Another way to look at this is that all forms of math equations require trial and error for solving. When you constantly practice math, you start building logic as to why you are getting an equation wrong and how you can get it right.
- One of the biggest examples of analytical thinking is developing critical thinking skills. Thinking critically encapsulates being open to new ideas and arguments. Math helps students to form better critical thinking by teaching them how to look at a problem or concept from different angles and understand it better.
Analytical thinking – A Boon For Mathematics?
While analytical thinking skills are also required for everyday life, this skill set becomes essential when solving complex and twisted mathematical problems. Here is how having these skills and enhancing them can be of help in the subject:
1. Boosting the reasoning skills
A lot of students dread maths, and they at times find it challenging. Its origin lies in the early school days, where students fail to understand the subjects and let their doubts and confusions harbor fear for a long time.
Using analytical thinking skills can trigger adaptability in learning new concepts much faster. Instead of using theoretical methods as a study method, they learn to operate on practical concepts. It allows them to acknowledge the subject in a much healthier way.
2. Improve numerical problem-solving aptitude
Maths can be complex at times. The level of concepts, starting as easy, soon progress into something much more complex and difficult. This discourages the students and wrongly incentivizes them to memorize the concepts instead of understanding them.
Analytical skills train the students to break the problem into smaller parts instead of approaching it as a whole. Reducing anxiety and enabling better comprehension, using analytical skills allows students to solve questions easily and much more quickly.
3. A link between theory and practice
Forming a link between theory and practicality comes in the use of children who find it tough to deal with complex formulas, especially in memorizing them. As important it is to read and learn the theoretical aspects of math, it is much more essential to link it with practical concepts.
Correlation skills are underrated but they can be useful to learn and use to approach math. The way to develop correlation skills is to work on analytical skills. Analytical and logical skills would inculcate a habit of doing mental math, which would help them academically and in real life.
4. Improved problem-solving skills
It is good to possess a high emotional quotient, but always depending on those emotions could lead a person on a path that’s self-destructive. It is imperative to have skills that help make crucial decisions in life.
With developed analytical skills, students can amp up their academics and handle everyday problems at the same time. Analytical thinking gears students and their thinking process towards logic rather than driving it by emotions.
It might be easier to approach maths in a standardized way for many, but a lot of students and individuals like to use their analytical thinking to go out of the way and find new ways to solve a problem.
Since the early years, the focus should be on conceptual learning rather than theoretical memorization. It would inculcate healthy habits among children that they would carry throughout their lives. Margaret Mead once rightly said, ‘Children must be taught how to think, but never what to think’ — It still stands its ground.
- Khusna, A. H. (2020). Analytical Thinking Process Of Student In Proving Mathematical Argument.
- Firdaus, A. (2019, February). Characteristic profile of analytical thinking in mathematics problem solving. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1157/3/032123
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,