Mindset and the Process of Learning Algebra

A lot of people have trouble with learning algebra, but this is only an effect of the real problem. The actual problem is that most people have never cultivated a good mindset for learning, and so they have to grind through learning new things like algebra when it can really be much easier. It takes a bit of work to develop a mindset that’s suitable for making learning easier, but it’s worth the effort since it makes learning all things, including algebra, take much less time and stress.

The first principle of a good learning mindset is to stop being afraid of making mistakes. It’s absolutely necessary for you to make mistakes, and they are a critical part of the learning process. When you are initially exposed to a concept, some percentage of the time you’re going to have the wrong idea about some part of the concept. When you do exercises based on applying the concept in question, you’ll naturally make mistakes. Then you should use these mistakes to guide you in figuring out what part of the concept you don’t have a correct understanding of. Being afraid of making mistakes is like being afraid of breathing. They both help you out a lot, and you can’t avoid doing either unless you die.

The second principle of a good learning mindset is to not be afraid to work hard at learning. A lot of people are scared to work hard because they think that means they are not smart. Most of the time when you see someone who seems to learn faster than you, it’s almost always going to be because they spend more time working on it than you do. No one is born with an ability to do algebra, and it’s unfair for you to think you’re supposed to be the exception. Work harder, work smarter, and you’ll get better at everything you do.

The third principle of a good learning mindset is to start with the basics. For an Algebra 1-specific example, remember that you have to learn the basics of polynomials before you can do advanced Calculus. Everything has to go in a specific order for a reason.