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Math Anxiety

Math can inherently cause anxiety. Why? Math is filled with unsolved problems – most of them not too simple. And your job is to solve them! And if you’re talking SAT or ACT math, or even just doing class-time assignments - you have to solve them quickly! Sounds like a recipe for stress.

Part of the solution is realizing that learning math, in general, is really honing the process of problem-solving – a life-long skill, a life-long process, a life-long necessity. We will always be faced with problems. And solving them is not always easy. We want to say – “math is fun!” and “math is all around you!” – which can be true – but truer still is – math is hard work. Math is figuring stuff out. Math success comes with allowing yourself to make mistakes – and learning from them. And that is really what a lot of us struggle with.

Those concepts are part of what I instill in tutoring sessions – it’s ok to slow down, sort through the process, take a wrong turn and double back. That’s usually the way you learn the most! As a tutor, I want to help lessen students’ anxiety. Help them through the process, show them a way, and give them the foundations and fundamentals to equip them to solve the problems on their own – usually in their own way. And an added benefit is - they start solving new problems quicker too. After they get the sense this is a process, what a joy to see those wheels turning in their heads, and see those stress levels go down!

Comments

Math Anxiety, Math mental block affliction, is manifested largely by a student not being able to improve his/her grade no matter how much he studies. (as opposed by those who have poor grades because they do not study sufficiently.) Math anxiety is also not limited to unintelligent students -- as indicated by students who get good grades in every other course except Math. Math anxiety is caused by various, usually unidentified emotional distractions. Attempting to teach them rationally without first removing the distractions ordinarily doesn't work. I am a Math Disability Tutor and I uncover students' afflictions by engaging in a probing dialogue with them. rather than teaching lessons. Not all problems are complicated. Some students have preconceived notions that Math is "hard," because other people have told them so. I've been able, on occasion, to get over that obstacle by telling the student I won't teach him Math. I'll teach him Arithmetic! David

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