Math Anxiety and the Brain Forum

Prevent math adverse attitudes

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Prevent math adverse attitudes
by Susan Scholl - Tuesday, 24 September 2013, 8:25 AM

It is a proven fact that people experience math anxiety, and that it manifests in many different ways.  As teachers we have to recognize that students have these adverse attitudes and work to alleviate the fear and get them ready to embrace mathematical learning.

Teachers need to come into math with a positive attitude and knowledge of their subject matter.  If students feel like they have an advocate they will try. Students need to come into math with a positive attitude also, even if they have had failure in previous math classes.  They need to be prepared to practice problems until they feel comfortable.  It helps if they know the basics.

If teachers increase their expectations and find different ways of teaching material based on student need, they often get results which they didn't expect, which in turn helps students get out of their comfort zone, find their strengths and create confidence.  By students asking questions, making connections, using a formula list and trying to understand instead of memorizing, they will actively build new knowledge from this experience and relieve the anxiety they started with.

Re: Prevent math adverse attitudes
by Dave Henrich - Tuesday, 24 September 2013, 2:07 PM

Understanding vs. memorizing can be so important.  If a student forgets or incorrectly recalls a formula, they are toast.  But if the understand, they can recreate and/or verify the formula using their understanding.  Understanding empowers students with options.