Maths anxiety as described by Sheffield University (2018) is “an emotion that blocks a person’s reasoning ability when confronted with a mathematical situation”. This, however, does not mean that those suffering with said anxiety are poor performers within the subject. Where the anxiety comes from is undetermined, I believe it stems from a mixture of factors such as teaching methods, parents and teacher anxiety.
The Guardian (2012) wrote that more than 2 million children are affected by maths anxiety. This is an extremely high number and shows how common maths anxiety truly is.
This short video explains maths anxiety and how anxiety is experienced more in maths than any other subject.
Prior to selecting the discovering maths module, I personally did not know maths anxiety existed. As maths is a mandatory subject to study within schools, I believe many children share a similar hatred, as they are most likely to study maths everyday. Maths amongst children is often associated with boredom and difficulty – as witnessed on my placement last year during lessons. My pupils were consistent with their moans and groans about having to do maths, claiming they ‘would never need to know this in real life’. This I believe is something that must be tackled, relating maths to real life situations shows the importance and how things such as reading a bus timetable or cash handling is maths.
My personal experience with maths in high school was not positive. Throughout primary school I found maths very simple and did not tend to struggle. However, high school was a different story due to an unhealthy relationship with my teacher. As I received a shower on negative comments, I gave up and felt my hatred towards the subject grew significant. Eventually, I received a C grade pass at Higher level and was thrilled to drop the subject. Until now,I had not considered my toxic mindset towards maths and how much it affected me. Although I did not fear the subject and its content, I would dread having to attend lessons with the thought of failure always on my mind. With this in mind, I feel determined to not let my future pupils have the same experience as I had. Like anything in life, we must work on ourselves before trying to help anyone else.
To conclude, no, I do not have maths anxiety but it is clear how many people in our society struggle with it. Already by taking part in this module, I can see a positive change in my own learning and personal development as I feel more open minded and confident. I hope I can continue to grow and in the future this will enable me to pass on my knowledge and positivity to my pupils.
Brian, K. (2012) “Maths anxiety: the numbers are mounting”. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/30/maths-anxiety-school-support (Accessed: 28 September 2019).
Sheffield University (2018) Maths Anxiety. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/30/maths-anxiety-school-support (Accessed: 28 September 2019).