photography by gianΩmerz
A study published yesterday in the journal Cerebral Cortex suggests some potential treatments for math anxiety. See the Education Week blog.
In prior research, the author Sian L. Beilock found that just the thought of doing math problems can trigger stress responses in people with math anxiety, and adult teachers can pass their trepidation about math on to their students.
One of the earliest posts on this blog was on Handling Math Phobia. This subject is worth revisiting.
The study released yesterday shows that students who are anxious about math yet perform well have a high activity in the frontal and parietal regions of the brain when they learn a math problem is coming up. § Read the rest of this entry…
photo by erin MC Hammer
We all have heard kids say, “I’m not really good at math” or “Math isn’t my thing”, especially after receiving a bad test score. Could these comments be subtle signs that they are afraid of math? If so, we need to pull the child aside and ask some questions that might help shed some light on what they are thinking. Are they afraid of failure, or of not understanding, or are they afraid that they are not smart enough?
Then you might offer, “Do you know what helps me when I’m afraid of failing,” or “Do you know what I do if I don’t understand something?” Sharing your own experiences can really help.
For instance, I like to explain that I try to turn scary situations into opportunities. If I have a mountain to climb and start with the premise that the climb will be too hard and I’m not capable of doing it, then I’ve already defeated myself before starting. Working out a math problem is much like working your way up the steep face of a mountain. Sometimes your direction reaches an impasse and you need to backtrack. It’s the same with math problems. The journey can either be fun and tortuous, depending on how you think about it. This reasoning has worked with my daughters, and I’m sure it can work with others too. § Read the rest of this entry…