Weekly Digest #51: Math Anxiety
As psychology professors, we witness math anxiety first-hand when students sign up to take psychological statistics, often the least favorite required course for a psychology major. Cindy has taught this course every semester of her teaching career and finds that half the battle in the course is getting students past their own anxiety to realize that they can handle this (and it isn’t nearly as boring as they thought)! Today we thought we would provide you with some research-based resources talking about what math anxiety is (and isn’t) and what educators and parents can do about it.
1) Math Anxiety by David Mills
This resource is a great introduction to math anxiety and discusses the difference between math anxiety and dyscalulia, the latter being a true disorder despite often being confused with math anxiety. Also included on this page is a survey that is used to assess math anxiety in math anxiety research and a discussion of why math anxiety is a problem for students as well as others.
In this blog post, secondary or higher education instructors are provided with very quick tips for what to do about math anxiety on a daily basis in their classrooms. Included in each tip is a link to the research that supports each piece of advice.
While math anxiety seems like a special form of anxiety, Cathy Tran applies general methods for reducing anxiety to math. These methods can apply to any anxiety—math, test, or life—but this advice is particularly aimed at both parents and teachers to reduce math anxiety on a daily basis (not necessarily only in the classroom).
4) Square Root of Kids’ Math Anxiety: Their Parents’ Help by Jan Hoffman, @JanHoffmanNYT
In this New York Times piece, Jan Hoffman discusses the fact that much math anxiety is transmitted from math anxious parents to their children while they are trying to help with homework. She then provides advice for math anxious parents to create a more position math atmosphere in the home.
5) How to Overcome Math Anxiety by David Ludden
As this is a Psychology Today piece, it is not surprising that David Ludden discusses some of the historical behavioral science research that can be applied to the current problem of math anxiety. He also discusses the fact that math anxiety isn’t necessarily a problem as there are countries where the anxiety levels are high, but so are the math scores! How can this be? Check out his blog post for an explanation.
BONUS: Math Anxiety: Can Teachers Help Students Reduce It? by Sian Beilock, @sianbeilock and Daniel Willingham, @DTWillingham
In an excellent article from American Educator, Beilock and Willingham essentially review all of the information above!
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