Eliminating the fear of mathematics in students is the responsibility of both the student and the teacher. The student should have a positive attitude which makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking. With a positive attitude, you will see the bright side of life, become optimistic about your future and expect the best. A positive attitude towards mathematics is a state of mind that is certainly well worth developing.

When taking math classes, it is important to take advantage of the faculty you have at your fingertips, ask for clear illustrations, demonstrations and/or simulations of the content and stay on it until you feel comfortable to move on. The student should not settle for anything less during instruction. It is advisable to work with a tutor or other students that understand the course content when you are struggling or when complete understanding escapes you.

Mathematics is made up of rules, processes and procedures. When a bit of practice is done every day, the process becomes very clear. It is a lot like cooking. We must add the right ingredients at just the right time and in the right order. Then we can create something delicious, and it tends to get better with a bit of practice.

Also, as a student, you are not expected to just read your notes over and over but ensure that you really understand the procedures and feel comfortable solving certain math problems, you need to practice doing them. Once you believe you understand the concept, do another problem. Then do another one. Then one more for good measure.

The teacher should educate him/herself about fear and its impact on students.  A good teacher should take time to learn about important biological effects of fear which includes blushing and racing heart, and cognitive factors, such as negative messages that students tell themselves. By learning more about how fear works, we can become more aware of important tell-tale signs and more proactive toward helping students feel more comfortable and confident. Some students’ fears may be associated with factors outside the classroom. Many students may experience family challenges, and face other stress factors that keep them from performing well in the classroom. Engaging in dialogue with students about their challenges and discussing ways to manage them may help students feel more involved in your course and be more persistent to succeed.

The teacher should help students become aware of their feelings of anxiety when they occur. Students are often unaware of their fear-based responses and thus management strategies, such as breathing techniques, stretching, or relaxation methods that can help students ease their feelings of discomfort. Research shows that these techniques are effective in promoting calmness during high-stress activities, such as quizzes and group discussions.

The teacher should be able to create a nurturing environment for his/her students like the learner-centred activities (e.g., small groups). Clearly articulate instructions for assignments and assess their understanding so that you are confident students are well-informed and less fretful about the objectives of each lesson. Additionally, make it a goal to promote cultural fairness so that each student can feel safe and valued in your class.


Okoroafor Chioma



Posted On: 5 April, 2019