Is math anxiety really a thing?
Math anxiety, that is feelings of stress, fear and apprehension when it comes to doing math, is certainly real. In fact scientists have developed different ways to measure mathematical related anxiety including the MARS (Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale) and the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scales (FSMAS).
A child suffering from math anxiety is not necessarily “bad at math”, but the stress they feel in math class and the avoidance tactics they use to minimize the amount of math they need to do, mean that they often don’t get the much needed practise that leads to math fluency.
A research based approach to math anxiety
Fortunately, research has found that, when it comes to math anxiety, parents can offer a great deal of help and support to their children. The infographic below gives 8 science-backed, practical ways to help parents conquer their child’s math anxiety.
8 Practical Ways to Conquer Your Child’s Math Anxiety
1. Be involved
Student success in school has been shown to increase if their parents are positively involved in their education.
2. Encourage a growth mindset
Studies have shown that effort trumps ability when it comes to learning math, so set high expectations when encouraging your child.
3. Be positive about math
A parent’s perception of mathematics influences not only their child’s perception, but also their achievement in mathematics.
4. Overcome gender stereotypes
Foster math confidence regardless of the gender of your child by highlighting achievements made by both male and female scientists.
5. Learn the basics
Rote learning is essential to mathematics performance as a many higher level concepts build the memorization and repetition of the basic math facts.
6. Allow mistakes
Focus on the concepts rather than the right answer since making (and correcting) mistakes is an essential part of math learning.
7. Take baby steps
Support new topics by slowly building from the topics your child already understands. Use gradual, repeated success to build math confidence in your child.
8. Make math relevant to real life
Highlight ways in which you and your family use math in everyday life and discuss how good math skills will open the doors to a larger choice of career options.
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