Educators have classified math anxiety into two categories; Type I (mathematical aspect) and Type II (psychological aspect).
Type I math anxiety is caused by certain mathematical symbols, concepts, or terms that create mental blocks in the learning process. A child with this type of anxiety tends to say “I used to be good at math, but I got lost at geometry and algebra,” or “I had a bad math teacher during my elementary years.” He will often try to learn the lesson, but he won’t understand it: “I’m sorry, but I tried.” A Type I child does not usually hate math or math teachers; in fact, he’s excited to talk to math teachers who are willing to listen. Therefore, a compassionate and competent math teacher can be of great help.
Type II math anxiety is triggered by sociocultural factors. The myth that boys excel at math more than girls, or the phantom that math is rigid, hard, and insensitive fuel these fears. The child tends to say, “I can’t do math” or “Who needs math anyway?” or “I hate math, it sucks!” The child is likely to display illogical behavior towards mathematics or mathematicians. He speaks harshly of friends or relatives who are good at math and of pranks being played on math teachers, whom he passionately hates. It is almost inconceivable to get a child with Type II diabetes to talk to a math teacher or to bring him near a math class. Now, a little anxiety can be auspicious, as in the case of a singer about to give her first performance. It is when anxiety makes one unable to function that help is needed.
Solving Math Anxiety:
The Type I student needs to understand that developing math skills is like building a house; If the base is not solid, the top will collapse. The best way is to take refresher classes with a kind and patient teacher. What can the teacher do? Recognize the source of anxiety and mitigate it. If, for example, the symbol % is causing anxiety, then the teacher should try to avoid using % until the student is comfortable with it. This includes working on the student’s communication skills: graphics, written words, sounds, colors, and more. Creativity is necessary. The teacher should also have more than one “teaching script” or focus for each lesson. If one topic is creating excessive stress, then digressing to another in the meantime can help. What can parents do? You can help your children follow these particular steps:
Make sure your children read their math homework before coming to class.
Teach them to write down, underline, or summarize the main points of the lesson, key procedures, meanings, formulas, examples, solutions, and proofs.
· Make sure your notes are checked immediately after class.
· At home, teach them to look at assigned math readings before delving into them.
Help children review using different methods, such as reciting aloud, writing, and visualizing the important points of the lesson.
Help them work on at least ten new problems and five revision problems during study sessions.
Make sure they study math before their other subjects.
· Make sure they have short breaks every 20 to 40 minutes when they are studying math.
Help them finish their difficult math homework.
Ask them to reward themselves for having studied and concentrated.
Do weekly and monthly reviews with your children.
The Type II student is more elusive, because he already has a full-fledged math phobia. A math teacher alone may not be enough; a counselor or psychologist who can work with emotional disturbances may be required. The goal here is to reduce the Type II student to a Type I student. The development of a mathematical education is imperative, and parents and teachers play a key role in this. Parents should share with their children the attitude that learning math is fun, that math involves real and meaningful problems, and that a good foundation in math can lead to a successful career in the future. Only when mathematics is viewed in a positive light do children view it with curiosity, enthusiasm, and aptitude.