Fear of Math.
I read a post by a wonderful author Jacqueline Gum
full of emotions and suspense about a dentist in morning today. You will really love her writings, to reach her website click HERE.
. Then during the day my cousin called me and told me that the dentist removed her wisdom tooth. Right now I am also thinking about root canal and filling of my tooth that was painful and as a result I got ache in my mouth and jaw for almost a week :’(. Now you will also be thinking, well, yeah, so many things related to same topic happened today 🙂
When we think about dentist we think about pain that we normally go through, if we have or had a problem with our teeth. Even some open mouth and try to show,” See I have a filling” if someone talks about dentist.
I am not going to tell you anything about dentist, that you actually know better 🙂 . What I want to share here is; same are the thoughts of; pain, depression, fear and anxiety when you tell to someone that you are a math teacher.
Other person will give you a horrible look and will say, you do not look like that. Your response,” Are they aliens?”. That person“ Are you serious? You know what, I HATE MATH, I HATE IT A LOT”. They will give you an angry look as if you have done something wrong with them, at times may be do not speak with you afterwards.
As a math teacher, I came across this behavior and sentence (in my last 13 years of service ) many times that I can not even count it as it has gone to infinity 🙂 . I feel that this behavior is the result of many factors.
May be due to poor explanation of concepts by teachers in schools or colleges.
In my experience many times parents try to help and tell something else about mathematical equations to kids and try to prove that teacher is wrong as they have not solved question in that particular way the teacher have taught. Sometimes they encourage them to take private tutors.
Such behaviors of parents, when they try to help in this way, actually confuse kids and push them towards fear and anxiety of math.
This fear and math anxiety can also come from educational system where every student is forced to take math just to get some money.
I always emphasize my students; first try to overcome the fear and math anxiety then they can move on. With fear even a single step is impossible specially when you are thinking numerically. This has been proved. Fear cannot let you move forward but push you in reverse direction.
I feel that those who hate math, just because they do not know it. Otherwise they must hate each and every development by science and technology around them to give them a comfortable life. As each development in every field of Computer Science, Physics, Engineering is because of Math. Now math has started helping psychology, sociology, anthropology etc. in many ways.
No one actually hate technology. So why hate math?
During math class mostly I came across many blank minds as students are afraid from math and terrified if their answer will be wrong what their friends will think. In class after explaining any concept about math. I always ask from student some questions to get an idea, if they got it or …. ??? :'( Mostly I get one reply,” I do not understand”. OOOH God ( This is a cry deep inside my heart every time after hearing this answer), “ OK! No problem! What you do not understand?”, “ I do not understand anything”. “ Well, let’s see this again, e.g; what is 05 + 05 ( raising my 05 finger of one and then other hand) all will say “ 10” , so what you do not understand?” “ We do not know” 🙂 “This was easy”.
The math anxiety actually stops their minds to think about numbers, mostly students have fear of numbers and this phobia increases as the number increases. I think this issue of math anxiety and stress is wide spread. Every where all over the world, students in high schools and colleges find it difficult to digest, when it comes to math. The problem is getting severe as if student do not go in math major but for entrance tests and jobs they have to take math tests. Just now one of my friend called me if I can help here to understand some mathematical concepts as she has to apply that formula in her thesis.
“When minds are scared no one can solve math.”
How to help students to overcome the fear and anxiety of math?
Teachers must try to help students to overcome fear and anxiety of math. As a maths teacher i belive that only a math teacher can help the students to cure math anxiety.
If you are thinking ,“How to cure math anxiety?” let’s read further.
I believe that teachers, teaching math must help students to overcome math phobia as follows;
- Must explain to them that it is just a subject like other subjects. All you need for math is understanding as you can not rote math. You can remember formulas but not steps of questions. But it is better that when you are trying to remember the formula then try to understand the derivation as well. It can help in solution of questions.
- Must emphasize the need to solve it, as much student will solve it, they will feel confident about it.
- Must advice student to do group study in math and explain the concepts to other group fellows if you know any concept well.
Math is beautiful, it joins people of all ages from all over the world like a chain just because of its universal terminology and language. It can help you to conquer many horizons and open new ways in all dimensions. We
have to find those right triggers that will help to motivate us to do math with comfort. This anxiety reach its peak during exams. You can check a post to know, how to solve exams to reduce mistakes? S
ome tips to improve math can be found Here.
In this post I tried to give you few tips that can help you to overcome get rid of math anxiety. If you will try my tips I am sure that your math fear will be gone andmath anxiety will actually become your power and will help you solve math with ease and comfort.