Sunday, 18 September 2011

Something to think about - the Mathematics

I always found a new subject amazing, but it could also be completely unfamiliar. Although I had a degree in business administration, I could not know the meaning of net income meant at my first accounting class years ago. I mentioned here about "my first accounting class" and the word "net income" which is a business jargon, even though the basic ideas of financial accounting are providing information for people who possess minimal business literacy (Fortunately, I found out net income meant the figure of all revenues deducted by all expenses later in class).  It is, not always but usually, true people react to jargon in totally opposite ways - either you know it well or you do not know it at all. Jargon means something very specific and known by a group of people. Since it was my first accounting class, I did not even have a clue. 

Actually, jargon seems like a foreign language in a  foreign land, in other words, we do not understand if we are not from there. In this case, accounting is like a foreign language and the business environment is like a group which use this foreign language. If we are not among this group, we do not know what is it or how it is done. This is probably true if someone who received no business training cannot calculate Earnings Per Share (EPS). Nevertheless, the underline principle is simple. EPS figure is calculated "simply" by dividing net income earned by the total number of shares outstanding. It means that if the net income is 10 million dollars and there are 5 million shares outstanding, EPS is calculated by 10 million dollars divided by 5 million shares. 

Here you probably think "Jargon" is a bad guy. Well, it is not. In many working environment  or academic fields, "Jargon" is needed to get rid of unnecessary time consuming and misunderstandings. It is effective and efficient. 

It comes to my believe that everyone who had a mathematical training understands this, let's say 10 divided 5 means that we put 10 burgers into 5 bags and each bag has a equal number. Every one can easy calculate EPS once s/he understand EPS and how to do it. It seems to me that break the barrier of jargon is the way to a new subject, including math. Instead of giving jargon and formula, tell kids about the relationship between numbers. Instead of selecting the right answer, try to do the math step-by-step and show process. Have fun with members intead of have fun with grades. 

I am not an educator, even though I have always wanted to be one. However, I know most kids are discouraged by the feeling of the fear of something unfamiliar. They can do math problems talking about dinosaurs, but not ROI (Return on Investment) because ROI (Return on Investment) is not unfamiliar to them. The fear of something unfamiliar is the natural of mankind. If all our ancestors had no fear of something unfamiliar, they could have touched cobra's head and gotten killed. I believe this is our responsibility that kids know the underline principle of math and do not worried about jargon. It will eventually come.

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