“Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Mathematics is a subject that deals with analysis, computation and evaluation, respectively. The three aspects can be related to initiation, propagation and termination of a certain quantity. It is the step by step method to achieve a logical conclusion.
Mathematics fear or math anxiety is a real problem that most of the students face today. It is an anxiety about one’s ability to do mathematics. According to Mark H. Ashcraft, maths anxiety is “a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that interferes with math performance”.
- A student may believe he or she is incapable of doing mathematics problems before attempting the problem or even before the teacher explains the problem.
- A student may have a bad attitude about mathematics. When he in mathematics class, he may be nervous and unable to sit still or focus on the lecture.
- Math anxious students may dread even going to mathematics class. There is a greater fear of answering a teacher’s question incorrectly in mathematics class than other classes.
- They also tend to compare their grades to their peers’ more and worry more about how their peers will react to them if they give a wrong answer in mathematics class.
- Students may experience math anxiety because they have never experienced success in their mathematics classes. This can be due to poor instruction. If the teacher does not teach well, the average student will most likely not do well in his class.
- Also, the student may have taken an insufficient number of mathematics classes, causing him to be unprepared for the class he is in. This could especially be a problem in schools where teachers are very strongly discouraged from failing their students. It is possible for students to be in a mathematics class that they should not be in because they did not pass the previous class.
- Math anxiety begins at different ages for different people. Some students may experience it as early as third or fourth grade.
- The crux of math anxiety is thought to occur in middle school when students experience increasing social pressures.
The major causes of mathematics anxiety or fear are as follows:
- Mathematics is Abstract- The subject is abstract in nature and I feel that Vedic Maths Tricks and Shortcuts can help us to reduce Maths fear to a greater extent.
- Teaching Methodology- Conventional system of teaching lacks innovation and makes the subject, dull and boring. Students fail to understand and visualize the concept. Gradually, the interest from the subject decreases.
- Formulations of mathematical equations- Formulation of mathematical equations require good analytical ability. It is not possible to learn mathematics like other subjects.
- Poor Command over Tables- Table is an integral part in developing fundamentals. A survey was conducted and it was found that a good number of students had poor command.
- Poor Trainers- A poor trainer neither enjoys the subject nor makes it’s interesting for his pupil.
There are certain tips and tricks (i.e. solutions) for doing away with maths fear. I commonly name them as ‘LAB-ID’ which is nothing but a model that helps in reduction and eventually removal of maths anxiety or fear.
- [I] Identification- Identifying the problem is a main thing before getting its solution. It is natural to get multiple methods to solve a particular problem but it should never confuse us. The main motive of an individual should be to solve the sum/problem accordingly without any ambiguity. The method that takes less time and memory should be followed. For example, if we are given a problem to sum the numbers, then we must understand that it works on discrete values while integration should not be implemented here as it involves summation of continuous values.
- [D] Daily Practice- The most essential step is to practice daily. Scientific study shows that daily practice may lead to a state of mind where there will no doubt and at times, an individual delivers his best.
- [L] Learning from Mistakes- One who learns from his mistakes are the ones who shine in life like anything. They never look back to anything. They gain experience from failure and try not to repeat the same mistakes again and again. Math fear will fly away without any second thought!
- [A] Asking doubts from Mentors- Clarification of doubts is the integral part as well. We should always remember that ‘Doubts are never meant to be unsolved’. We should always approach our mentors or teachers to clear them. The more we are away from doubts, the chances of getting success, multiplies exponentially.
- [B] Being Confident- Being confident is a deterministic approach. Suppose an individual is given a multiple choice question with three options. He chooses one option with determination and confidence and gets it correct. Then, he or she is referred to be deterministic. For any number of situations, the output that is obtained is singular or unary in nature and type.
Unlike all other phobia, this is also very detrimental in student community. The best way to avoid such psychological tantrum is to focus on our basics or fundamentals from the very beginning of the session. The motive of a maths student is not to mug up formulas and theories instead he should use various available resources in the web to strengthen his ground. After strengthening the ground, the next step is to sow seeds and maintain it regularly. The same process is repeated again and again to grow crops by the farmers but still they continue doing it. These can be linked to real life situation as well.
Educators may be teaching students to have a math phobia rather than teaching them to love the subject.
It is generally observed that students who have a math phobia may also have test taking anxiety. Timed tests and too much test preparation in the area of math, which is one of the two major focuses of high stakes testing, can exacerbate the issue. It is important for educators to find a balance with formative and summative assessments where math is concerned. That balance must be between teaching a love of the subject and not assessing so much that the love disappears.