Duolingo Has Helped Me Get my Math Grades Up
I've read countless articles stating (more or less) the same thing:
"Students who study foreign languages tend to score better on standardised tests than their monolingual peers, particularly in the categories of maths, reading, and vocabulary."
See below for source
About a year ago, I thought my case with math was hopeless. I just didn't get it. I hated it. I had no interest in it.
But then I discovered Duolingo.
Now, I won't say something "clicked" and I suddenly started understanding everything (I still do hate math and have zero interest in learning it), but there has been a lot of progress. I actually understand what's going on when we're writing proofs. And I actually started getting full marks. (I haven't gotten one of these in a year!)
I don't know if this is only because of Duolingo or because I started learning a new language (mind you, I could already speak two before I even learned Spanish), but if you think about it, I was actually really bad at math last year, so this year was supposed to be even harder for me.
Anyway, thank you, Duolingo, really. You haven't only helped me learn Spanish and take French as my second language at school. You've also helped me get my math grades up. Thank you.
Thank you for for the link. It's an interesting approach. Years ago there were scientific studies that showed, that children who started to read early and read a lot during their early years at school, developed statistically a better knowledge in mathematics. I think it's a similar effect. Reading means to deal with abstract concepts. Words have context based meanings, grammar is a highly complex structure with rules and exceptions.
When you learn more than one language, the mind has to compare the meanings of words and the analogies and differences of grammar structures. So by learning different languages you learn to deal with even more complexity.
But this is true the other way around as well. Learning mathematics or nature sciences is like learning another kind of language. There are words and rules as well and different kinds of concepts. Another abstract world of complexity that helps you to deal with complexity in every context.
But transfer only takes place, when you are open minded, have at least some interest in the subject and as a starter don't hate what you want to learn. As a pupil I was a wizard in mathematics and a hater of languages. Decades later when I started to develop an interest in languages, I quickly recognized that learning grammar is often based on rules that are similar to some mathematical structures. But even more I love the unintentionally learning by reading in different languages, the ambiguity of words. Now I'm retired and know, that the benefits of learning is not just to learn other subjects, but to stay young in mind and being more communicative. I wish there would have been computers, Internet and Duolingo when I was a boy.
It's hard to tell in my case. It's because almost everyone in my country is at least bilingual. Almost only old people and very small children are usually monolingual. And still I think most older people in my country is bilingual too, depending on how old they are. However I failed on learning a third language in school. It wasn't until I discovered DL for almost a year ago.
Almost everyone here is bilingual too. I guess I would've even been worse at math if I could only speak one language xD. Learning a third language has helped me though, so I believe it will help you too. Good luck!
Thank you. You too! I wish DL existed when I was in middle and high school.
May I ask whether your blingualism involved much translation between the two languages that you are natively fluent in, or simply in using different languages in different situations?
That was what I thought. I believe that it is the process of turning a concept from one language into words in another that helps us to think abstractly. So, it was only by learning a new language, which involves translating ideas, that you got the extra practice in abstract thinking. And the more practice you get in abstract thinking, the easier maths becomes... good luck with your studies!
That's interesting, I've also experienced that my univerity grades got better after starting to learn French here.
Same when i started french my english went from a C- to a B( i havent had a B in years)
Yeah! I agree with you,
Learning a foreign language makes the brain exercise! when we learn new words our brain is playing and adding them, so it also helps to add math formulas :) that's fun ;-)
Personally, I doubt that the bare correlation of learning a language and being good at maths means anything. I'd rather bet that intelligent/ambitious people (being good at maths requires either certain levels of intelligence, a lot of commitment or both) people are more likely to study a foreign language than that the stydying of a language makes you better at maths. Your case isn't any proof, because there are tons of other factors that could make you perform better, like the changes of physical/mental health, better sleep or nutrition, more commitment to studying or simply easier material on classes etc.
You're right, I can't say this is all because I've learned Spanish, but I can't deny either that it has helped me somehow. After all, studies have been carried out on this topic. And as I already told you, the material usually gets only harder as you move up a grade.
I'm really intrigued by your comment that you now can do proofs better, and understand what is going on with that. That's a major advance to make! I'm a math professor, and I see a lot of students who can't do what you've achieved. For them, they can't even learn formulas by rote, much less describe what they're used for or actually apply them. I have a lot of Asian, Asian-American students on the other hand whose math wiring is "clicked on". I've wondered whether that's at least partially due to having experience with two radically different ways of notating words. There's also the proverbial math-music connection - due in part to having dealt with two different ways of conveying abstract information.