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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Report examines origins and nature of 'math anxiety' | Mathematics - EurekAlert

A report out today examines the factors that influence 'maths anxiety' among primary and secondary school students, showing that teachers and parents may inadvertently play a role in a child's development of the condition, and that girls tend to be more affected than boys, as EurekAlert reports.

 
The report was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, with additional support from the James S McDonnell Foundation.

The UK is facing a maths crisis: according to a 2014 report from National Numeracy, four out of five adults have low functional mathematics skills compared to fewer than half of UK adults having low functional literacy levels.

While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from cognitive difficulties...

Recommendations
The researchers set out a number of recommendations in the report. These include the need for teachers to be conscious that an individual's maths anxiety likely affects their mathematics performance. Teachers and parents also need to be aware that their own maths anxiety might influence their students' or child's maths anxiety and that gendered stereotypes about mathematics suitability and ability might contribute to the gender gap in maths performance.

"Teachers, parents, brothers and sisters and classmates can all play a role in shaping a child's maths anxiety," adds co-author Dr Ros McLellan from the Faculty of Education. "Parents and teachers should also be mindful of how they may unwittingly contribute to a child's maths anxiety. Tackling their own anxieties and belief systems in maths might be the first step to helping their children or students."

The researchers say that as maths anxiety is present from a young age but may develop as the child grows, further research should be focused on how maths anxiety can be best remediated before any strong link with performance begins to emerge. 
Read more... 

Reference
Understanding Mathematics Anxiety: Investigating the experiences of UK primary and secondary school students. 14 March 2019.


Source: EurekAlert