An Opinion on ‘Five Ways To Shift Teaching Practice So Students Feel Less Math Anxious’
Maths anxiety or maths phobia is a finely studied psychological state. As the name suggests, it is the fear of numbers. During childhood and adolescence, many of us have been victims to nightmares that haunted us prior to a maths exam or the result of one. The situation is no different today. It is fairly common to hear students speak of getting cold feet when it comes to maths. While students suffering from maths phobia are very often teased about their fear, it indeed, is a very serious concern. Experimental evidence exposes the darker area; mathematical anxiety not only interferes with the students’ performance in the class, it causes them to avoid situations involving mathematical calculations alongside other behavioural issues.
Hence it is necessary that we reconsider the approach to teaching mathematics to students. One way which can reduce their maths phobia is having a real-life approach when introducing mathematical concepts. The concepts can be set in a scenario or be explained by means of a story which eliminates the abstractness associated with the concepts. For instance if students are to be taught about profit, loss and discount, instead of attacking the concepts straightaway through some formulae and exercises, it could be explained in the form of a story centred around a family vacation, involving expenditure and expenses of travel, various discounts received, etc.
Another way to counter students’ phobia is through the use of hands-on activities and lab sessions. If students apply the concepts they learn, first hand in solving some real-life problems or create something based on their understand, they will not only understand better but will also be more engaged in the learning process.
Many educators and edupreneurs are taking up issue and coming with solutions which can help students develop a love for Maths. The maths curriculum offered by Next Education, for example, ensures that maths concepts have a real-life connect and students get to practice ample hands-on activities. They also have a MathsLab to further help students.
To read the article on which this opinion piece is based click https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/04/05/five-ways-to-shift-teaching-practice-so-students-feel-less-math-anxious/