How to Recognize and Alleviate Math Anxiety?

Math or Arithmetic anxiety is more than just a dislike for the topic; it’s a serious issue for children, clogging working memory and setting off a self-fulfilling cycle of math avoidance, low achievement, and terror. This type of anxiety can start as early as kindergarten, and approximately half of all primary school students suffer from it.

It’s time to do some arithmetic once more. Your heart begins to race, a knot in your stomach tightens, your palms become sweaty, self-doubt and fear of failure become heavy burdens on your shoulders, and a sheet of unanswerable questions stares you down. Math phobia is a real thing. 

You’ve probably heard people say things like, “I can’t do the math,” “I don’t enjoy math,” “math is too difficult,” and “I’ll never apply it in the real world.” Even professors can believe it when students express such hatred and disgust for math. However, as a teacher, you can play a critical part in removing the stigma associated with the arithmetic phobia.

What is math anxiety? 

When people deal with math anxiety, such as when they have to manage numbers, solve mathematical issues, or are exposed to an evaluative circumstance related to math, they experience feelings of uneasiness and elevated physiological reactions.

According to one study, roughly 93 percent of adult Americans suffer from some form of arithmetic anxiety. According to research published in the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, roughly 17% of Americans suffer from severe math anxiety.

And it’s not just a case of being restless. When confronted with something truly terrifying, nervousness is a reasonable reaction.

A sensation of stress and anxiety that prevents people from manipulating numbers and solving mathematical issues in a variety of situations in everyday life. It happens in people of all age groups. 

Why is it important to address math anxiety?

Math anxiety affects students at all levels of education in today’s educational systems. In addition, arithmetic anxiety is typically associated with poor math performance. The goal of this study is to look into the reasons for math anxiety and the ways that pre-service teachers have come up with to deal with it. Doing surveys with 70 pre-service teachers in Canada and conducting a critical analysis of the data to provide an overview of the reasons for math anxiety was part of the research.

These findings suggest that pre-service teachers have dealt with arithmetic anxiety in a variety of contexts. Lack of self-confidence, fear of failure, instructional methods, inadequate learning approaches, and student non-engagement are some of the factors. Also, these findings show that confronting math anxiety has enabled participants to design techniques that have helped them overcome their fears. According to the author, a better understanding of math anxiety has consequences for all math students and educators.

      FEW TIPS FOR OVERCOMING MATH ANXIETY
Prodigy Game.Use a diverse-ability collection. Make math fun. Optimistic support.Read math textbooks. Get an instructor.Nervousness reappraisal. Promote understanding, not memorization.

What can be the signs and symptoms of math anxiety? 

The ongoing problem that is resulting in a faster pace would surely carry numerous signs and symptoms. A few of them are as follows: 

  • Aversion to math: Math anxiety and aversion to math go hand in hand. Do you have any pupils who tend to seize any opportunity to leave the classroom during math class? This could be more than a pupil attempting to avoid work. Students who have a high level of math anxiety will want to avoid it at all costs. This may manifest itself in the classroom as misbehavior, off-task conduct, or repeated trips to the nurse. However, because some of our math-phobic children have mastered the art of performing very little arithmetic without drawing too much attention to themselves, avoidance may be difficult to detect.
  • Lack of response: Do you have kids that appear to be frozen when posed a math question? Any math-related question might make a student with math anxiety feel tremendously worried. They don’t have complete access to their working memory, making it difficult for them to think effectively. They may even have this reaction when they already know the answer—it’s fear, not the math, that’s getting in the way.
  • Tears or outrage: Tears of rage may indicate anxiousness, particularly if they occur just during math. Students who suffer from math anxiety are often harsh on themselves operating under the detrimental and incorrect belief that being successful at math entails getting the right answers quickly. These attitudes and beliefs are quite disabling.
  • Negative self-talk: Math anxiety causes students to develop negative views about the subject and their ability. Much of this conversation may take place in their brains, making it difficult to detect, but some children may express their thoughts to friends and teachers, stating things such as, “I despise math.” Math isn’t my strong suit. This is something I’ll never be able to do.”
  • Low attainment: Given that math-phobic pupils avoid arithmetic, it’s unsurprising that their achievement suffers as a result. These pupils do badly on tasks and exams because they have had less exposure to math than their peers. Students begin to interpret low marks as labels that confirm their belief that they are mathematically challenged.

What are the strategies for promoting healthy mathematical essences? 

Do you know there are few strategies for promoting healthy mathematical identities? Let us know about them in detail: 

  • Allow time for students to comprehend why: Helping difficult pupils by focusing on procedures may appear to be a good idea, but it could make matters worse. Many pupils who are afraid of math see it as a series of incomprehensible steps that must be memorized. 

Students are frequently taught to multiply decimals by removing the decimal from the factors and reintroducing it into the product. Students, who lack a conceptual knowledge of place value and decimals are faced with procedural problems like “Which way do I move the decimal?” All kids are entitled to the time they need to fully comprehend the math they’re being asked to accomplish.

  • Use messages that are both healthy and accurate: Regular class discussions about negative views are one strategy to support math-anxious pupils. Reassuring pupils that there is no such thing as a math person or persons born with unique abilities in math will make them feel less anxious and perceive themselves as mathematicians. It’s also crucial to pay attention to the language that teachers use when speaking with children.

Praise for right responses, quickness, or good scores does little to help pupils learn from their mistakes. Using specific remarks regarding students’ problem-solving processes, their decision to portray arithmetic in numerous ways, or their use of specific sense-making tactics, on the other hand, motivates all students and makes math accessible to all.

  • Allow for thought time when asking questions: Being asked a question in front of others can be unpleasant for a student with a math phobia. Inadvertently, on-the-spot questioning can transmit the notion that mathematics is all about churning out answers. Giving children enough time to deliberate helps them develop conceptual knowledge emphasizes that being quick at math does not imply being good at it. 

When students feel at ease and secure, they study more effectively. Some pupils focus on the dread rather than the math because they are afraid that the teacher will call their name at any moment. Students will have the time and space to think carefully as mathematicians if the fear of being singled out is gone and maybe they can start to give ideas voluntarily. 

  • Use mixed-ability grouping: Struggling students are frequently placed in math groups so that the teacher can provide individualized training. Students seldom leave these groups, and their math education is typically significantly different from that of their high-achieving counterparts. And such groups can amplify students’ poor perceptions of their skills. 

Heterogeneous grouping benefits all students by providing them with high-quality math as well as exposure to a variety of ideas and perspectives. Math problems with many entry points are also a fantastic way to encourage healthy problem solving by allowing students to discuss a variety of methods and strategies.

Concluding text 

In this article you come to know about math anxiety which happens When people deal with math anxiety, such as when they have to manage numbers, solve mathematical issues, or are exposed to an evaluative circumstance related to math, they experience feelings of uneasiness and elevated physiological reactions.

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