6 questions with Andrea Chan, author of ‘The (Unofficial) Emaths Textbook’

Image credit: Andrea Chan

Maths is often perceived as a difficult subject, but it doesn’t have to be. We speak to Andrea Chan, author of The (Unofficial) Emaths Textbook, to find out how she makes maths engaging for her students, from using motivational quotes and comics, to colourful designs.

How does The (Unofficial) Emaths Textbook aim to help students do better in maths?
Students usually face these three issues when it comes to E Maths: not understanding the concepts, not being able to solve the questions, and not doing well and believing they will never do well, and losing interest.

The key to acing E Maths lies in understanding the questions and how to answer them, along with the right mindset. This book tackles them all.

I’m sure many students have experienced this before – studying and practising so hard, only to stumble in the exam when they realise the teacher has changed the question drastically. Thus, it is important to know the types of questions that might appear and learn how to solve them, so that no matter how the examiner twists the questions, you will be able to answer them.

In order to do this, I have organised each topic in a cluster map format with explanations, and collected and analysed the different types of questions that can possibly appear in the exams. All the examples can be found in this book, where I explain how to solve them step-by-step. When you start doing well, you will want to do better and will achieve even better results!

How is it different from other study guides?
It has what my students say they would like to have in a guide book. It comprises stories, motivational sayings, comics, doodle corners, quotes, study tips, fun fonts, colours and an engaging layout. Basically, it’s NOT boring. Furthermore, it caters to the needs of different students – those who just want an overview of the topic can look at the colourful cluster maps; those who require simple, easy-to-understand explanations can read the entire chapter; those who want mastery of the topic can jump to the different question types and solution steps; those who get distracted or bored and need an avenue for mental release can scribble on the doodle corners or read the comics; those who need motivation can find various stories and quotes scattered throughout the book.

What do you hope to achieve with this book?
That students will be able to do well in E Maths effortlessly; to realise that it is really actually very simple and fun, once they know the trick to doing well; and for them to start getting better grades, gain more confidence and believe in themselves a whole lot more.

Why do you think maths is perceived as difficult?
The lack of practice, patience and focus, and a negative mindset means students don’t spend enough time learning and understanding the concepts. As a result, they fail to do well, feel lousy about E Maths and themselves, believe it is too difficult, and the cycle repeats.

You’re also a trainer for the I Am Gifted! camps. What do you teach and how did you get your start?
I train students on study skills, motivation, and relationship and communication mastery. I help them discover their purpose and goals, motivate them and bridge the gap between them and their loved ones.

I believe a lot in fate. It seemed almost impossible that I would end up as a trainer at Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group – I had no idea who Adam Khoo was; training was never a career option; and the recruitment email landed up in my spam folder which I usually would not bother to look through. However, I did. Three rounds of auditions, a whole year of struggles and 10 years later, I am finally where I am today – being able to touch the lives of students, teachers and parents.

What is a typical day conducting a workshop like?
The day starts with many “Five more minutes”, as I struggle to get out of bed. Then it progresses to “I can’t wait for this day to end” so that I can finally rest and relax. Entering a room of unfamiliar faces is nerve wrecking, but slowly, the nervousness is replaced by laughter and smiles through stories, jokes, sharing of experiences and loads of interaction. I see heads nodding in agreement, bodies leaning forward in anticipation and attention, and beautiful smiles. Basically, I talk to my students the entire time. The training ends with “Today was so much fun, I can’t wait to see them again!” Alas, the day ends and the cycle repeats. “Five more minutes...”


The (Unofficial) Emaths Textbook retails at $27.91 and you can purchase it here.

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