Math anxiety is a common issue among many students. Most students have faced this anxiety at some point in their careers.
So what is math anxiety?
It’s the feeling of frustration in an individual that’s related to his/her inability to comprehend mathematical concepts. Students experience such problems at a varying degree of intensity. But in some cases, it goes up to such a level where the student finds it hard enough to just engage with basic math operations.
Math anxiety should never be seen as a definite part of a problem. Instead, it should be seen as a part of the solution. The first step to curb math anxiety is to recognize the symptoms and ensure the fact that it actually is depression. We’ll have to implement more of a symptomatic treatment; hope you got the point.
What are the symptoms of math anxiety?
There are 4 major symptoms that are associated with math anxiety:
- Panic: Student develops a feeling of hopelessness which s/he can’t shake off. A petty math sum might terrorize the poor child.
- Paranoia: Student becomes a little narcissistic from a negative point of view. S/He feels that s/he is the only person in the world who’s facing this trouble.
- Total lack of confidence: The student is confident of one thing that s/he won’t be able to do any sum whatever the circumstances. It might be a math topic that is not even been taught to him/her yet but s/he has already become confident of one thing that it would be beyond his/her ability.
- Passive behavior: The student develops a negative mindset whenever the topic in concern becomes something related to mathematics.
Many adults fail to recognize the symptoms of math anxiety in students. They reckon that the student purposefully avoid involving in mathematics because s/he is not intelligent enough. There a popular saying a student who lacks enthusiasm in mathematics doesn’t possess the “math gene”. This is just a myth. There’s nothing called a “math gene.” Math anxiety can definitely be curbed to a certain extent if proper steps are taken to do the same.
Causes of math anxiety
Math anxiety is generally linked to negative experiences that a person had in the past. The experiences might have cropped up from any past punishments or humiliations. The student felt that s/he was embarrassed and s/he develops a natural anxiety whenever the subject in concern goes to something related to mathematics.
Timed tests are another culprit for which the student develops a form of dislike towards mathematics. A student might be comfortable enough to complete his math homework because s/he is not having time constraints while doing the same. But s/he would face immense difficulty in solving the same sum in school tests because of time constraints. This results in a drastic effect on the student because test outcomes are the only thing though which the performance of a student is judged in schools/colleges. So if s/he performs badly in tests, s/he develops this mindset that mathematics is not a suitable subject for him/her.
How can you overcome this math anxiety?
Now we are talking. This is where we are going to make this supposedly part of the problem into a part of the solution.
There are several ways through which you can make students overcome this anxiety. First and foremost thing is to avoid negative criticism as much as possible. Try to take a positive approach to mistakes. Do remember that students learn from mistakes. Mistakes are never a part of the problem.
Do remember this-
“Why do we fall?
So that we learn to pick ourselves up.”
There are several other ways through which math anxiety can be curbed to a certain extent. For more details, you can refer to this article.
Math anxiety should never be seen as a part of the problem. There are definite solutions available that can be referred upon as per requirement. There’s nothing called the math gene or something like that. Every child is capable of exceeding in mathematics. S/He just has to be shown the right way. Professional math tutors can definitely look into this on your behalf.