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Math Anxiety got you tied up in knots? Start thinking about how you can gain confidence and hope.

March 24, 2011


photo by cohdrankenmath


The following links are all have to do with math anxiety – A great site that talks about the social causes and  educational context of math anxiety, math myths and strategies for deal with math anxiety. I include an excerpt that I believe is particularly relevant to figuring out how to deal with this anxiety:

“Begin by understanding that your feelings of math anxiety are not uncommon, and that they definitely do not indicate that there is anything wrong with you or inferior about your ability to learn math. For some this can be hard to accept, but it is worth trying to accept – since after all it happens to be true. This can be made easier by exploring your own “math-history.” Think back across your career as a math student, and identify those experiences which have contributed most to your feelings of frustration about math. For some this will be a memory of a humiliating experience in school, such as being made to stand at the blackboard and embarrassed in front of one’s peers. For others it may involve interaction with a parent. Whatever the principle episodes are, recall them as vividly as you are able to. Then, write them down. This is important. After you have written the episode on a sheet(s) of paper, write down your reaction to the episode, both at the time and how it makes you feel to recall it now. (Do this for each episode if there is more than one.)
After you have completed this exercise, take a fresh sheet of paper and try to sum up in a few words what your feelings about math are at this point in your life, together with the reason or reasons you wish to succeed at math. This too is important. Not until after we lay out for ourselves in a conscious and deliberate way what our feelings and desires are towards mathematics, will it become possible to take possession of our feelings of math anxiety and become free to implement strategies for coping with those feelings.
At this point it can be enormously helpful to share your memories, feelings, and goals with others.” – a lot less wordy, straight forward and like listening to a kindly coach but good common sense.

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