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Friday, March 9, 2007

Mathematics Anxiety

athematics is considered as one of the toughest subject by majority of students.There are very few students in the classroom who really love to learn and explore the mathematical concepts.I have found the students saying·...
I am afraid to ask questions in math class.
· I am always worried about being called on in math class.
· I fear math tests more than any other subject.
· I don't know how to study for math tests.
· I am afraid I won't be able to keep up with the rest of the class.
· I don’t know whether I will be able to write my mathematics paper.
· I am worried today is my mathematics exam.
· Math exams terrify me. My palms get sweaty, I breathe too fast, and often I can't even make my eyes focus on the paper.

f the students are saying such things, then they are having math anxiety, which is a feeling of intense frustration or helplessness about one's ability to do math. Anxiety is stress, tension and strain brought onto one’s body and mind.

ome Solutions .......
Given the fact that many students experience math anxiety in the traditional classroom, teachers should design classrooms that will make children feel more successful . Students must have a high level of success or a level of failure that they can tolerate.

The incorrect responses must be handled in a positive way to encourage student participation and enhance student confidence.

Everyone is capable of learning, but may learn in different ways. Therefore, lessons must be presented in a variety of ways. For example, different ways to teach a new concept can be through play acting, cooperative groups, visual aids, hands on activities and technology.

Students today have a need for practical math. Therefore, math needs to be relevant to their everyday lives. Students enjoy experimenting. To learn mathematics, students must be engaged in exploring, conjecturing, and thinking rather than, engaged only in rote learning of rules and procedures.

Math must be looked upon in a positive light to reduce anxiety. A person’s state of mind has a great influence on his/her success. Many games are based on math concepts. Some games that are beneficial to learners and are enjoyed are cards playing, Life, Yahtzee, Battleship and Tangrams.

With all the tension and anxiety, math humor is greatly needed. Young children enjoy cartoons and jokes. Cartoons may be used to introduce a concept or for class discussion. Most children will master mathematical concepts and skills more readily if they are presented first in concrete, pictorial and symbols.

Manipulatives are concrete objects used to teach a concept. By using manipulatives, pictures and symbols to model or represent abstract ideas, the stage is set for young learners to understand the abstractions they represent. Students enjoy the change from lecture and books and they are more inclined to explore with manipulatives and show greater interest in classwork.

Cooperative groups provide students a chance to exchange ideas, to ask questions freely, to explain to one another, to clarify ideas in meaningful ways and to express feelings about their learning. These skills acquired at an early age will be greatly beneficial throughout their adult working life.

n conclusion, math anxiety is very real and occurs among thousands of people. Much of this anxiety happens in the classroom due to the lack of consideration of different learning styles of students. Today, the needs of society require a greater need for mathematics. Math must be looked upon in a positive light to reduce math anxiety. Therefore, teachers must re-examine traditional teaching methods which often do not match students’ learning styles and skills needed in society. Lessons must be presented in a variety of ways. For instance, a new concept can be taught through play acting, cooperative groups, visual aids, hands on activities and technology. As a result once young children see math as fun, they will enjoy it, and, the joy of mathematics could remain with them throughout the rest of their lives.


Anonymous said...

I am writing my masters thesis on the topic: The effect of a positive classroom environment on levels of math anxiety and achievement of male and female students. I need some help getting it together can any one suggest any possible resources I could use.

Masters Thesis said...

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Masters Thesis Writing

Anonymous said...

last few days our group held a similar discussion on this topic and you illustrate something we haven't covered yet, appreciate that.

- Laura


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