6 easy ways to help kids get rid of math anxiety

causes of math anxiety

If math teachers will find a solution to math anxiety they need to understand its causes, how it sets in and what needs to be done to get rid of it.

Most students feel so afraid of math and they hope it is not part of their school curriculum. Students will understand math if math teachers and tutors will devise strategies to discover the factors that fuel math anxiety.

Math teachers should find out how the kid feels about math when they notice that the kid is deficient in math knowledge and is not performing well in class.

This observation will help the teacher discover when math anxiety sets in and find a way to get rid of it so that the student will better appreciate math.

Math anxiety means a feeling of apprehension and fear for math. Math teachers need to understand the meaning to be able to proffer solutions to help the child get rid of it.

Causes of math anxiety

Math teachers know how challenging it is to understand math, therefore, they must find strategies that will help kids get rid of math anxiety, the fear of math begins early in some kids and there are certain factors that cause it.

How the teacher feels about math in the classroom will have either a positive or negative impact on the child.

Let me share my thoughts on what triggers math anxiety:

• The fear of math tends to develop in kids who lack the basic math skills in early schooling.
• When kids perform well and are promoted to a level higher than their next due class, this has a tendency to trigger math anxiety.
• Time-based tests can sometimes trigger math anxiety in students. The pressure of time can get in the way of some brilliant kids as they tend to crumble in exams, creating fear.
• Student’s math ability in early school and their social environment are factors that play a role in triggering it.
• Embarrassing kids when they answer math questions wrongly can be a trigger; making kids feel shy and doubtful about the solution to math problems they know answers to.
Let’s now discuss simple ways to help students get rid of math anxiety:

1. Homework assignments

When kids are allowed to partake in their learning, it helps them learn fast and eliminates math anxiety.

Teachers giving kids homework assignments after each math topic helps kids study on their own and better understands the math topic that has already been taught in class.

When parents emphasize the importance of homework assignments to their kids and guide them to complete their homework, it instills a level of confidence in the kid.

Constant completion of homework assignments by kid helps them better understand the rules, patterns, and procedures that lead to arriving at solutions to math problems.

When kids solve these math problems on their own, making mistakes in the process and are being corrected, it helps organize their thinking and helps them better understand math.

Kids, who have tried several math problems, making mistakes and have been guided in the process to logically arrive at the solution to the problems, are less anxious about math.

2. Becoming active learners

Questions asked by kids such as: “why did you use this method to arrive at the solution instead of the other method? “How come you arrived at the solution this way”? it makes them learn better since they are active learners.

Math teachers should always encourage their students to partake in their learning by being observant in class and ask critical questions that open up opportunities to learning.

These questions help the students build confidence in math and deepen their understanding of math topic by seeking alternative methods to arrive at the solution.

This active learning technique allows students to choose for themselves ways or methods they find easy to apply in arriving at solutions to math problems.

Since they have learned different methods of arriving at the answer, their confidence is boosted and helps them better understand math.

The process helps them eliminate math anxiety and it also helps promote class discussions which help students understand math concepts.

3. Parents involvement in learning

Parents setting a higher standard and expectation for their kids help them spend more time on homework and help the child value homework assignment.

According to PISA, parents in East Asian countries place emphasis on effort rather than intellectual abilities and this helps kids develop a growth mindset.

This habit of parents teaching their kids about effort early in life helps them understand that intellectual ability can be attained by everyone if they put in the effort needed.

4. Apply repeated gradual success

Good teaching is hinged on the fact that learning proceeds from the known to the new.

When teachers teach kids topics they understand then gradually introduce new similar concepts slowly with gentle increment in complexity, it tends to eliminate math anxiety.

5. Teaching with real life examples

Math anxiety can be eliminated if teachers will teach kids math in ways that relate math topics to their everyday lives.

Math teachers can teach kids negative number by drawing a picture of the mountain beside a sea on the whiteboard and give the kids post-it with images of Bird and octopus drawn on them and asks them to place it on the picture of the mountain beside the sea drawing on the whiteboard.

The kids placing the post-it of the bird above the sea and the post-it with the image of the octopus below the sea removes any misconception arising from the lesson.

Teaching in this way helps eliminate any math anxiety the kid might have instead interest and motivation are generated which aids learning.

6. Parents fear of math

After carefully studying the causes of math anxiety among kids and how to help them get rid of math anxiety, Nedra Robinson states: “Unfortunately, math-anxious parents contribute to their child’s anxiety.

You’ll often hear parents diminish their own math abilities or state that they weren’t good in math; therefore, their children aren’t either. As if the lack of ability to compute is contagious. For instance, Nedra’s mom constantly said she was not good at math, she just didn’t understand, she wouldn’t be able to help her or her siblings, and they should look to their father for assistance because he was better in math.

Despite her mother’s poor thinking of her own math abilities, she actually has strong numeracy skills which were great for providing a foundation for more advanced math. Nedra’s father has the advanced math skills and he provided help at home so she can take her Calculus AP exam in high school.”


Guest Contribution from Nedra Robinson – Former Middle School Math teacher



About Charles Onwugbene

Charles OnwugbeneCharles Onwugbene is the founder and editor of tutorhelpfxfc.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on:

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