If there's any subject known to give students anxiety and cold feet, it's almost always mathematics, without a doubt.
Most school-going children regularly complain about studying math, while some have developed an aversion to the subject altogether.
Those who had a minor inconvenience with math might be able to brush it off. But for those who seem to be afflicted with a severe fear of math, the problem evolves.
It transcends into a psychological block and needs to be overcome through effort.
Why Do People Experience Anxiety With Math?
No formal education is complete without learning math, and almost every major discipline – be it engineering or accounting – requires at least a basic understanding of math.
Since learning mathematics is such a crucial edifice to education, when a student fails to grasp a basic concept, it can lead to anxiety, often snowballing into a fear of the subject itself.
Before this anxiety sets in and becomes a life-long psychological blockage, it must be curbed through methods meant to undo the underlying cause of fear and unease with the subject.
But before that, it's essential to identify a few factors which can cause distress among math students. Some of the factors resulting in students developing a fear of math could stem from:
- Difficulties with a specific topic
- Shyness from speaking up in class
- Pressure from parents to perform well in tests
- A teacher who cannot accommodate the student's needs
At this point, you may want to know how to learn mathematics when you have a mental blockage holding you back. Keep reading as we provide the answers:
Four Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Math
There aren't any set-in-stone ways to overcome a fear of mathematics, mainly since everyone develops this fear for different reasons.
And although some of these reasons may coincide, everyone perceives education differently.
Therefore, here are four tips that will help you overcome your fear of math no matter what why you hate the subject:
1. Opting For A Private Maths Tutor
It is essential to choose the right tutor for your math lessons as many teachers may not have the relevant experience to deal with the pressures of teaching the subject.
Often, shy students face difficulty speaking up in the classroom and asking the teacher to explain if they're lagging.
If a traditional classroom setting seems to be exacerbating your fear and anxiety about math, consider private math lessons for a more personalized learning experience.
With private lessons, students can benefit from the complete undivided attention of their math tutor and learn math efficiently without worrying about proving their presence.
Large classes can be intimidating for students, and group settings can amplify any scrutiny they think they might face. Therefore, even if private lessons are expensive, consider them an investment for both children and adults.
While the classroom model prioritizes group learning and meeting curriculum deadlines, a private tutor can focus on a student's specific weaknesses, helping them overcome psychological blockages.
Without peer pressure and the classroom hierarchy, students can be more at ease with their teacher and engage in more interactive math lessons.
A private online math tutor can be beneficial for a student who suffers from shyness, low self-esteem, or even a fear of authority figures.
2. Using The Right Learning Resources
One reason learning math can be intimidating for students is the complex formulas and numbers that have to be memorized. These can be rather abstract for someone who isn't familiar with them.
Perhaps this is why we can term math as another language; the symbols within math have their own syntax and rules.
And the complicated nature of these symbols is enough to push people away from advanced arithmetics.
The pressure of getting this new language right, with all its complex rules, can cause a lot of anxiety and even a mental block in pupils' minds.
To get around this blockage, tutors can use everyday materials. Rather than giving students formulas to learn, try to use relatable materials like pebbles for addition and modeling clay for fractions.
These and other easy-to-implement solutions will act as an escalator as they make far-flung concepts easier to grasp.
Such practical materials can help conceptualize abstract concepts like addition and fractions and make for more interactive math lessons.
Furthermore, the textbook that the student uses to learn math can be the reason behind their dislike of the subject. Students seem to struggle with concepts because of how inefficiently they're explained in their curriculum book, leading to them blocking the topic out completely.
Therefore, if the student still seems to be harboring a fear of math, try switching their books up. Consider books specifically designed for students who fear math.
For this, you can try supplementary exercise books, which use alternative problem-solving techniques to help overcome the mental blocks plaguing students.
Usually, books with high visual content can help students get past the rigor and dryness of the math curriculum. You can also try some fun apps and tools to help with math prep.
3. Identify Your Mind Block
You'll often find teachers claim that no student is terrible at mathematics, and it's really just a problem with their approach. But for a student beset with math problems, it can be hard to believe that assertion.
But there is some truth to that statement; a student who is floundering with math today can become a pro at the subject tomorrow.
To do that, it is crucial to identify why the student seems to be struggling with math and how that blockage can be circumvented.
It might be hard to believe, but psychological blocks in math can sometimes even stem from personal or family problems.
It s possible for children to be raised in a by-the-book household where analytical learning was discouraged, or maybe they were conditioned to believe they don't have the brains for math.
Although this solution may seem Freudian; however, educational psychologists talk about undoing baggage from the student's past, which might be causing a hindrance in their learning.
As a subject, students find it hard to relate to math because of its abstract nature and the fact that there is very little practical in real life outside of school. Contrast this to science, geography, and economics, which all have real-life implications.
Even though math is the language of the universe and has enormous implications in nature, it is not apparent and hence does not resonate with students.
This abstract nature is most commonly why students develop a psychological block and pigeonhole the subject as irrelevant and obscure.
A child struggling with math does not lack intelligence but usually struggles with internal issues that prevent them from tapping into the skills needed to solve math problems.
4. Relearning The Basics
When students find themselves struggling with more complex math problems, it is not that they have reached their limits. The issue at its core seems to be a lack of basic math skills.
They might be unclear about some of the critical steps or may have missed a class, and hence, a topic. However, the best and most straightforward way to fix it is through revisiting the basic concepts.
This method calls for a complete revision of the basic definitions and relearning them. It might sound simplistic and mundane to relearn concepts like square roots and factors. But remember that this does more to untangle your arithmetic knots than aimlessly persisting with school classes.
The best way to go about it is to draw parallels with something personal to the student, such as an anecdote, and help them unblock any mental obstacles naturally in a fun, engaging manner.
Learning math doesn't always have to be boring, especially with a private tutor armed with the latest apps and tools.
You can now overcome your psychological blocks regarding the subject in no time and start afresh with the right teacher.
To find a teacher that suits your needs and works on your schedule, sign up with Superprof and get in touch with qualified math experts near you!