Mathematics can be defined as the science of numbers and their operations; the study of topics such as quantity (numbers), structure, space. Their combinations and abstractions of space configurations etc. Or, the science of formal systems. However in our world today, the understanding and learning of math by some students seems to be difficult. It therefore makes students to fear timed tests, examinations etc. This is called “Math anxiety”. Math anxiety or Math phobia is a feeling of frustration about the inability to perform mathematical functions, it is an emotional problem characterized by intense nervousness before or during math tests.
Deadlines that timed tests impose on students lead them to feel anxious. This in the middle of a major test leads them to forget the needed math concepts that they have no problem remembering at home. Since the outcome of the test usually affects a student’s overall math grades, the negative results of math anxiety reinforce their feeling of inadequacy, thus creating a cycle of anxiety and failure.
Math anxiety is usually linked to a negative math experience from a person’s past. This could be being punished by a teacher for failing to master a mathematical concept or being embarrassed in front of a group of peers when failing to completely correct a math problem. This could leave an impression on the students if made to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Also, some teachers like to put down a wrong answer when a student answers a question incorrectly. This act is bad because it lowers the self-esteem of the student, and he or she would be discouraged to answer another question. Sometimes, a wrong answer is only wrong because of a calculation mistake, but was perhaps achieved by a different reasoning process, and the process itself may be valuable.
Since math anxiety produces real symptoms and emotions, e.g. panic, passive behavior etc. it is important for parents or teachers to distinguish these characteristics within their students or children, when they recognize he or she is experiencing math anxiety. Many students do not understand why they experience math anxiety. They automatically assume that it is because they are unintelligent or were born without a talent for mathematics. This simply is not true. Even the most accomplished mathematicians and college level professors sometimes experience symptoms related to math anxiety.
One of the ways to help someone overcome math anxiety is through positive reinforcement of the child’s intelligence, and instead of giving negative criticisms for doing poorly on a test or assignment, review with them, the problems and skills they were able to master. It is also beneficial to surround the student with optimistic students. Tutors are also a great resource. Parents should investigate when trying to help their students overcome math anxiety. Tutors offer one-on-one individual math subjects. Statistics show that students who complete online tutoring can have immeasurable results in their level of self-confidence. so ,”make hay while the sun shines”.
NAME: ORJI CHIOMA
SCHOOL: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COLLEGE ENUGU, ENUGU STATE