Building Math Confidence by Overcoming Math Anxiety. From Theory to Practice.
Unfortunately, many students have negative feelings toward mathematics that can lead to math anxiety and subsequent poor performance in or avoidance of mathematics classes. These feelings may have been brought about by negative math classroom experiences, negative parental attitudes toward math, or societal stereotyping of mathematics. The notions that math (1) is a male domain and (2) requires logic, not intuition, are both myths. The learning of mathematics is a developmental process that takes time and practice. Negative attitudes toward or anxiety over mathematics can be altered by establishing a supportive classroom environment, using concrete manipulative materials to help bridge the gap between concrete learning and abstract thought, using a variety of teaching techniques, and addressing the student's personal attitudes toward math. (This guide includes a worksheet that is intended to assist students in confronting their math anxiety. It contains information on how to take charge of one's own study, classroom, and test environments; create success; and distinguish the facts about learning math from the myths.) (MN)