How to get rid of math anxiety

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.
Beauty of Math:
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? Some 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.
Let’s not fear math but enjoy it, live with it and Love it.
It is pure and amazing, it can give you trust and comfort. It is breath taking, yet powerful to get a new way of looking at things, problems and the solutions.. Believe it.

What do you believe, why is that, math is there from 2000 years and most of the people swear that they cannot do it?

Related post;
The picture is by my student. 
Please do not forget to share. 
  • Hi Anna, I've always kind of enjoyed math myself, looking at math problems as simply puzzles to be solved and I loved puzzles. When teaching grade school I always found it was easier to teach the kids math when you involved something they loved liked adding cookies or toys. It really helped to keep their attention and make it more fun.

  • I wonder if a love or distain of math is based on personality traits. To many Math is a strict format, 2 plus 2 means 4, that’s it, there is no interpretation to it. I think this applies to analytic brains, but to those of us who are more creative, that strictness to rules are abhorrent to that which makes us creative.

  • Andy

    This is an interesting topic for a blog post. That some students are anxious about math is not so surprising, but I was unaware that there are people out there who actually study "math anxiety". You learn something new every day!

    Perhaps in a future post you could give us a math tutorial that illustrates some of your anxiety-reducing techniques – it would be great to see them in action.

  • Oh dear, I'm sorry to say I would be one of those not a fan of math. But I'm not afraid to admit it's because I just don't get most of it outside of the basics. I remember all too well my last math class – algebra in high school. I was unlucky enough to be in the class with the school jocks and the teacher pretty much gave them a pass so it wasn't exactly what you would call "inspired" teaching. Still, I take full responsibility for gladly never taking another math class. I can tell you are an excellent teacher because of your passion and dedication.

  • I am happy to know a person who actually believe so.

    Normally people do not understand that math is all about logic. When I started my Master our Teacher Dr. Sarmad and Dr. Tariq told us when we will be done with our degree we will start looking at thinks more logically and mathematically. At that time we are laughing and thinking what our teacher is saying. At the end we came to know that how and when but it really happened.
    Thank you Ken for your time and confidence on math teacher.

    I appreciate that.

  • As does seem as though most kids, and later adults, seem to clearly have or not have, an aptitude for math. My son can spend days over writing a one page book report but he zips through all his math lessons and chooses to take extra math courses. By the way, Anna, I don't have that reaction at all when I hear someone is a math teacher. My impression is always that they must be someone with a logical mind.

  • Catarina

    Found math a really dull subject at school. Have my own way of calculating. At the huge math exams we used to have we had to show how we had calculated to come up with the right answer. I did it in a different way but it worked so they had to give me full marks.

  • I am sooooo afflicted with math anxiety. I can remember crying with frustration at not being able to do my math homework—-in 4th grade—-AND, my father, an art teacher, not being able to help me. We were both pulling out our hair and yes, there were real tears. He finally looked at me and said, "Look, I'm bad in math and you're going to be bad in math, so you just have to deal with it." (He was not the most insightful parent — a nice guy, but with certain blind spots). I struggled with math my entire school career. I was in regular math classes; whereas I was in advanced classes for all my other subjects (including science!) and I had to work very hard just to earn "B's" in my math classes. I cannot say I was unhappy when I graduated from high school and resolved never to take another math class. I am sorry to say that our sons seem to have inherited my math genes, rather than their father's.

  • Happy New Year Anna – hope we'll share many posts throughout 2015 – enjoy yours so much. I love math – but the basic kind used in accounting. The other stuff, algebra, geometry, etc. not so much but I have never been afraid of it – just didn't like it. I think you must be a wonderful math teacher if you first deal with the fear and include laughter in class – that is almost unheard of so good for you.

  • I love math. My brother is a retired math professor. My dad loved math. I don't know why some people fear it. When I taught school for a few years, I taught my kids the love of math. Fun with math. Probably because I loved it. It's a shame when people learn to hate or fear it because it is so magical. Oh, my brother wrote his doctorate paper on imaginary numbers and yet he criticized my grad school major in musicology as frivolous and not useful!

  • I've always liked and done well at maths. I studied Computer Science at university, which had a large math component. Over the last decade or so, I've taken piano lessons and music is mathematical in many ways. But I know a lot of people who say they can't do math. As you've pointed out, that mindset makes it harder for them to learn. I'm glad to see a math teacher who recognizes and deals with the anxiety and strives to help students see the beauty in math. Keep up the good work.

  • Hello Jacquie.

    Thank to you. I really appreciate.

    This came to my mind after reading your post. It's nice to hear about your Dad. Yes its good to have someone for help specially in math.

    All the best with holidays.

  • Anna, Thanks so much for the mention! AND the link to my post! You made an effective bridge between fear of dentists and fear of math. Luckily, my dad's background was that he was a mthe teacher before he started his sales career. So I had lots of help!