Getting the Better of Math Anxiety
We’re about to send our November parent newsletter, featuring an article on ‘math anxiety’. In the course of writing it we came across several sites that offer resources to help parents understand and deal with the doubt, fear, and loss of confidence kids can have if they’ve have bad experiences with math.
When I was in 9th grade I developed a kind of phobia about math – I had one of those algebra teacher experiences that just took the wind out of my sails. To put it nicely, she made learning not fun. It was so bad I’d sit in the back of the classroom trying to hide, trying to avoid getting called on, with a growing pit in my stomach. As my stress level went up my grades went down. Except for geometry which I enjoyed, I avoided any non-required math classes after that. And for years I told myself I hated math and I wasn’t good at it. As an adult I was surprised to discover that math can be pretty cool.
Actually, I’m not alone – the National Mathematics Advisory Panel report (pdf format) said the U.S. needs to change its attitudes about math!
Recognizing and Reducing Math Anxiety in Kids
Fortunately, math anxiety can be overcome and you can set yourself (or your child) up to succeed in mathematics by having positive learning experiences. As a parent who had to struggle to build a positive math attitude, I thought some of you might find these useful.
Math Power, a cool site authored by Ellen Freedman, has a bunch of useful pages:
- The Student’s Math Anxiety Bill of Rights
- A math anxiety self test to gauge your experience math anxiety.
- Ten ways to reduce math anxiety
- Her site also includes some study skills tips and a few fun math games – check out the Rubik’s cube!
Math.com has some tips for recognizing and dealing with math anxiety.
You can also read more about math anxiety in our upcoming November parent newsletter and you’ll find links to more resources and research there. (And if you’d like you can also sign up to receive our monthly parent newsletter.)