Mathematics seems to be like a nightmare to most of the students!!
I have often heard school students praying for getting just passing marks in this subject. Students have a fear of mathematics and they want to avoid studying the subject, which seems to be not possible in school days. This Math Phobia affects the students considerably and it magnifies during the examination time, especially if they are Board Examinations.
Fear of mathematics is not only limited to students but also sometimes we see it in parents as well who are after their children, urging them to practice more and give extra time to this subject in comparison to other subjects. It’s a broad perception among students and parents that mathematics is a tough subject and requires an extraordinary level of intelligence to be good at it. Students struggle to understand the theorems and concepts and also have Difficulty in Retaining the Formula’s and the result is a rise in the fear.
WHY THE FEAR OF MATHEMATICS?
Mathematics is such a subject that is necessary for all people across the globe throughout their life like when they travel, they work, keep an account of money, etc. It is a skill, a subject, which is taught in school from class 1 to 10. Generally, Mathematics requires analytical and logical thinking and a lot of regular practice to master it.
Unfortunately, a lot of students feel stressed out and face feeling anxiety when they have to deal with the subject. The angst of mathematics can affect a student’s ability to interpret the subject and also can affect his adulthood. In other words math anxiety can make students bad at math.
Often students face a common problem when they Discuss Mathematics. The students often complain that when the teachers make them understand concepts and show various examples at school they understand them, but it is different when they sit back at home and complete their homework or practice it. Students tell that they had understood the concepts back at school but afterward they either skip some part of the understanding part, they forget one or two-step of what was taught or they complete don’t understand.
So this struggle to perceive the subject means that a student is bad at mathematics? No it is not. Students shall not be conveyed that they are not good at math. Actually, it is just that some students have less thinking and analytical skills that are necessary to become an Excellent Student in Math. And a student can improve his/her performance with regular practice and hard work. Fear can always be overrun. You need to be determined towards your goal and try can overcome your uneasiness.
There are many factors that contribute to the development of anxiety and nervousness for mathematics among students. Let’s discuss them:
- LACK OF POSITIVE ATTITUDE
A major factor that contributes towards the development of Mathematics Phobia is the attitude by which the student is taught. A positive attitude by the teachers towards the subject, enthusiasm and love for the subject develops a similar feeling in the students and they also start liking the subject. Whereas, if the teacher is less enthusiastic and creates a sense of Negativity in Students for the subject then this would lead to the development of math anxiety and fear in them. They would start disliking the subject.
- LACK OF VALUING MISTAKES
Mostly, students don’t value their mistakes done in solving problems and questions rather they get demotivated and doubt takes place in their mind that they won’t be able to master them. This math anxiety and discomfort shall be surpassed there and then only and students shall focus on the kind of mistake done by the students. Analysis grows the brain. Students shall take the help of their teachers and friends to do the evaluation of their mistakes and ultimately solve the problem.
- INAPPROPRIATE METHOD OF TEACHING
Sometimes the method of teaching is such that students are not able to comprehend easily. And that is the starting point of fear. If a student is not able to get the concepts, methods and techniques properly he/she would not be able to perform properly the questions and problems and as a result lose confidence and mathematics fear will take over him. So teachers shall teach students with such methods which are easy to grasp and memorize.
- LACK OF CONNECTION BETWEEN THE STUDENT AND SUBJECT
At times, math anxiety and fear are a result of a Lack of connection between the Student and the subject. Students are unable to build up a positive connection between themselves and mathematics. They treat math as something very difficult and scary. This also affects their learning ability and understanding of the concepts of the subject. Students tend to ignore the subject and avoid it and which makes the learning and grasping of the concepts more difficult for them and as a result they are scared whenever the thought of subject comes to their mind.
- LACK OF HANDLING THE PRESSURE
One of the common reasons why students are Scared for Mathematics and why they fail in the subject is because of the peer pressure which they are not able to handle. They have self-doubt on their abilities and are unable to cope with the pressure of performance at school and other levels. Once a student starts doubting his abilities he is not able to recover from it without Proper Guidance and this hampers his Performance in the Subject.
- LACK OF ATTENTION
Any subject whether it is easy or complicated requires the individual attention of students. No subject can be learned or mastered until and unless students are serious about it and give it proper attention. Some students have a casual attitude towards study and they don’t pay attention in classes or they fail to pay attention for a long span. And this becomes the reason for their fear of the subject. If the students try to be more attentive towards the subject and take it more seriously, they would surely overcome the Fear of Mathematics.
- LOW IQ
Many may not agree but the IQ level of a student plays an Important Role in Learning the Subject. This factor shall not be overlooked but still there are parents who don’t accept that the IQ level of their child is low. There are students, who are not very good at numbers, learning theorems and formula's and have problems in commanding arithmetic, geometry and mathematics. Such students have a phobia for the subject as their learning graphs are affected due to low IQ. But still, for such students regular practice and consistency in grasping the concepts can be helpful.
- LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF SIGNS AND SYMBOLS
Mathematics is a subject which involves a lot of signs, symbols and formula’s and it becomes tricky for many students to retain and memorize. Many students who are Average in Studies become confused due to so many signs and symbols that are a part of mathematics. They are unable to use them properly to solve problems and equations and as a result get low marks in the subject. This gives birth to a sense of fear in the student that he will not get good marks and will not be able to perform well. This as a result escalates Mathematics Phobia among the students.
- NOT SO GOOD MATHEMATICS TEACHERS
Not all mathematics teachers are good and not all are capable of teaching their students in such a way that they are able to understand easily. When the methods of teachers or their ways are such that students are not able to comprehend the subject easily then the students develop a distance from the subject. A student becomes less interested in it and only a fear develops in his mind.
The above are the reasons through which the fear of Mathematics Accelerates in Students. Whenever the thought of studying Mathematics comes in the mind of these students, they are surrounded by mathematics fear and anxiety. But are there any ways by which the fear of mathematics be conquered? Are there any means and methods through which this fear can be minimized? The performance of a student directly affects his Phobia for Maths. Lower the performance in the subject more will be the phobia. But if students work on a daily basis to improve their performance and to reduce their fear they can definitely do so.
Following are some ways through which maths fear can be reduced:
- DEVELOPMENT OF CONFIDENCE
Confidence is such a factor that can play a very important role in the development or reduction of Mathematics Anxiety or fear. Parents and teachers should help the students who are scared of mathematics in boosting their confidence and motivating them that they can perform well in the subject. Parents and teachers shall try and imbibe the feeling of confidence and shall make students understand that they can perform well in the maths.
- STRENGTHENING THE BASIC SKILLS
It is always said that a strong foundation leads to a strong building. Similarly if the work is done on the building and strengthening the basics of Mathematics Skills in a student then, the probability of development of fear for math will reduce. So if students become fluent in basic concepts and skills of the subject and revise them on a regular basis then they will be able to adapt to the higher-level concepts easily and the fear for math will not haunt the students.
- APPROPRIATE GUIDANCE
Appropriate guidance by the parents plays a great role in the education of a child. Whenever a child is stuck in some problem or in studies they seek help from their parents and proper guidance by them will improve the learning abilities of a child and his performance as well. Parents shall be positive in approach and shall guide their children in such a manner that the children change their perspective and aptitude for mathematics. Parents shall guide the children that a regular practice on a daily basis on the concepts of the subject and working constantly on the weak points can help them to a great extent.
- DIFFERENT METHODS AND APPROACH
Sometimes some methods are such which students don’t understand or they might understand a topic or concept through a different mode or approach. Students may invent their own arithmetic symbols or pictures or their own concepts through which they understand the topics. Usage of such tricks and approach by students are perfectly fine as the ultimate aim is to get oneself versed with the concept.
- MAKING MATH EXCITING AND CREATIVE
Although, math is known as one of the difficult subjects among the students if the subject is made exciting and creative for the children, they would tend to learn more and fearless. The Basis of Mathematics doesn’t change and it remains same always, it is just that we have to learn the most exciting and creative ways to solve problems and questions in such a manner that the concepts and methods last in our memory for a longer time and we fearless from the subject.
- FIND REASONS TO STUDY THE SUBJECT
Students will give in their all to learn, and explore mathematics if they understand the reasons why they should learn and study math. The students shall know that Basic Mathematics Topics such as fractions, decimals, measuring skills, area, percentage, statistics, etc are required by them in daily life and that all shall be done by the students in getting themselves clarity in all these concepts. Topics such as mensuration, trigonometry, calculus, arithmetic, algebra, etc are required for higher studies in fields like science, electronics, commerce, physics, etc. Youngsters studying in class 9 to 12 require mathematics after school in any stream they go and therefore, they should be motivated that they need to work hard for understanding the subject rather than fearing from it.
- ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO MAKE THEIR OWN NOTES
Students shall be encouraged to make their own summary notes which the students can revise easily during the examination time and also they can easily memorize them also. Many students get stressed out during the examination time and so through these notes they will know how and what to study and will prove to be helpful for the Preparation of the Exam.
Students see Mathematics as one of the toughest subjects and most students are very scared of it. But if students see it with a positive approach and their teachers and parents guide them in different ways, then the students can overcome this math fear. Then the students will be able to learn its concepts and theories with ease and comfort. Students can struggle with the subject all-time and just drag themselves just for passing marks or they can work hard in the correct direction and pull out themselves from this Fear of Mathematics. The choice lies with the student!!