The teacher’s toolkit comes with a great short article to support parents who want to help their anxious child. It is heartbreaking to see children with anxiety and their learning is severely impacted by it. When parents follow these tips there may be some improvement, it is worth the read.
A new paper explores, among many other things, discussion of the prevalence of MA and the need for establishing external criteria for estimating prevalence and a proposal for such criteria; exploration of the effects of MA in different groups, such as highly anxious and high math–performing individuals; classroom and policy applications of MA knowledge; the effects of MA outside educational settings; and the consequences of MA on mental health and well-being.
Using three large-scale international assessments of student achievement, the current study examined the antecedents of math anxiety and the relation between math anxiety and math achievement across the globe. Results suggest that individual math anxiety is negatively associated with math achievement across the globe. Importantly, we uncovered a contextual effect of math anxiety where the level of math anxiety in one’s educational peer group predicts math achievement above and beyond what could be predicted by one’s own math anxiety. Further, there is significant between-country variability in this contextual effect—only half of the examined countries’ contextual effect was statistically significant. Our results reveal an effect of educational peer’s math anxiety on math achievement and reinforce extant research findings.
This new research found that spatially structuring the verbal mind is a promising cognitive correlate of the math anxiety and opens new avenues for exploring causal links between elementary cognitive processes and the math anxiety. What all of that means, you can read in the link for today below.
In short the research tells us that higher math anxiety predicts lower math achievement and when the researchers looked at what is contributing to the math anxiety, they found that the student’s perception of the capability of the math teachers can create math anxiety. In the words of the researchers as follows:
To better understand the contextual factors underpinning maths anxiety, Lau and colleagues analysed data from 1,175,515 students who participated in three large international studies of achievement. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that students in countries with higher levels of maths anxiety tend to achieve lower maths grades.
The strongest predictor of maths anxiety was how competent students perceived their maths teacher to be: those with less confidence in their teacher tended to feel more anxious. Being set large amounts of maths homework, and parental involvement in homework, also contributed to anxiety to a lesser degree.
Krzysztof Cipora shares a new preprint alert: Together with @flavinska72 Karin Kucian, and Ann Dowker they are sharing some thoughts on Mathematics Anxiety: where are we with the current research? Where Mathematics Anxiety research should go?
The story is a bit more complex. Brand new, not even published, research shows that Mathematics-gender stereotype endorsement influences mathematics anxiety, self-concept, and performance differently in men and women. A very interesting find in a large study among university students. Read the pre-print abstract in our link for today.
Math is hard. Dyscalculia, a math learning disability, can make learning and calculating numbers downright painful. Persistent difficulties with math can also lead to intense overwhelm and feelings of academic dread, also known as math anxiety. Beyond understanding and recognizing the condition, educators should address dyscalculia-related challenges and strive to make learning math a fun, positive experience.
Some of the students with anxiety can be helped if you use white boards. The fact that all their answers can quickly be erased when wrong gives them a feeling of security and the courage to try something more. It’s just a little tool. In our link for today we include an advertisement for wipe workbooks where you can register to get a free one.
We should not confuse math anxiety with dyscalculia, a math-based learning disability, an inability to process numbers. In dyscalculia, a child has a vague number sense, due to which he has trouble understanding math. On the other hand, math anxiety is the psychological barrier induced by stress due to which one cannot do the math, despite having know-how. Though people with dyscalculia do have some math anxiety symptoms, it is crucial to differentiate between them and provide the child with proper guidance accordingly.
The negative link between maths anxiety and maths achievement is well documented across high-income countries, and new research points to a similar relationship in low-income contexts. This global concern needs to be tackled with early interventions for students, and teacher support. Such actions should reduce maths anxiety and improve maths performance.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing maths anxiety. Researchers have developed many (relatively simple) strategies to support the reduction of maths anxiety. My own approach when providing professional development workshops for educational professionals is to provide a toolkit in which strategies can be selected, tried and combined in ways that suit the individual and situation.
Don’t miss the excellent article on math anxiety on the BOLD blog. They take care of some myths and come with good recommendations about how to support children with math anxiety.
Anxiety about maths is linked to lower maths scores. Yet recent evidence shows that the majority of children who have high maths anxiety are not poor performers in maths. Teachers and parents have a role to play in reducing maths anxiety and encouraging greater uptake of maths.
When working with students who have learning disabilities it is easy to always look at what their problems are. This way it also prompts the student to focus on their weaknesses with all related problems that this may cause. The article in the link for today shows how you can help the students look at their strengths rather than at their problems. Nice quote: “talk about a sea of strengths around some islands of weaknesses”
An opinion artilcle in the LAtimes tries to come up with answers:
Consider why American kids struggle. Mathematical competence depends on three types of knowledge: having memorized a small set of math facts (like the times table), knowing standard algorithms to solve standard problems (like long division), and understanding why algorithms work (knowing why the standard method of solving long division problems yields the correct answer).
The National Mathematics Advisory Panel concluded U.S. students have adequate knowledge of the first two, but not the third. They can do math (at least, sometimes), but they often don’t understand what they are doing.
Certainly when you are actually good at it. There is no shame in being good at math and it is better to encourage your children to work their best instead of trying to bond with them, complaining about math.
Math anxiety gets developed when teachers or parents talk bad about math in general or talk how bad they are at math themselves. Let’s try to avoid it and help our students tackle the problems with confidence and knowing the getting it wrong only means you’ll learn something new.
From a brand new study: “Teachers, parents, brothers and sisters and classmates can all play a role in shaping a child’s maths anxiety,” study co-author Ros McLellan said in the press release. “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.”
See the wonderful advice on working towards eliminating math anxiety for your child. Best quote:
The article gives a list of reasons people have anxiety and a few suggestions how to overcome math anxiety. You might like to know writers have suggested that a young Albert Einstein was rubbish at mental arithmetic, a teachers even famously said he wouldn’t amount to anything! However with the help of his mother and a different style of teaching at a new school he was propelled towards his genius discoveries.
A new study shows that although boys and girls showed more or less equal levels of math anxiety and performed similarly at the arithmetic task, correlation analyses showed that only in girls, math anxiety significantly correlated with math performance. Analyses investigating if math anxiety moderated the effect of gender and grade on math performance revealed significant differences between boys and girls. Higher levels of math anxiety only significantly and negatively moderated math performance in girls, with the greatest effect observed in 2nd grade girls.
For people who break out in sweat when thinking about doing math a solution maybe nearby:
For people who have a really hard time doing math, “their brain is not functioning properly” in the area that governs this ability, explained Dr. Cohen Kadosh. “They have abnormalities in the anatomy … and they have lower activation” in part of the brain.
Using electrical current to simulate the brain, he said, “is just like giving the neurons an energy drink so they are able to perform much better.”
It doesn’t look good. The article in the link for today is about math anxiety being contagious but they first refer to some worrying statistics:
A research study in the journal Education finds that 71% of Americans cannot calculate gas mileage, 58% cannot figure a tip, and 78% do not have the skills to compute loan interest. How do people manage these routine calculations when they have no idea how to do them? Research suggests they estimate — and “pad” their estimation. In other words, they overpay. Imagine how much money they lose by avoiding simple math.
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