Our recent maths workshops have really opened my eyes to the stigma around learning Mathematics and the challenge I now face of teaching Maths. I have always relatively enjoyed Maths – I like how there is one right answer and the satisfaction you can get when a full page of working ends with one whole number! I was unsure about how I felt about being able to teach Maths and I now realise what is in store for me.
Tara told us about “Maths Anxiety”. The way someone reacts negatively towards Mathematics that can be debilitating. Any task involving numbers creates tension, fear or worry for someone. If we ourselves as practitioners suffer from maths anxiety this reflects on our pupils and how they feel towards mathematics. Tara and many of my other tutors have told me of how we must “fake” our confidence. Even if we are feeling a little shy or nervous about what we need to teach, as long as we are prepared, we must act confident and this will reflect onto our pupils. This is a prominent piece of advice I am going to take into my upcoming placement.
The Maths workshop also highlighted some of the attitudes towards Maths present in society today that haven’t really changed since the 90’s. Some of these included:
- You are born good at Maths
- You are either a Maths Person or an English Person
- Girls can’t do maths
Some of these really annoyed me more than I thought they would – especially the last one! A lot of my maths teachers in the past have been women. We need to get rid of this attitude in our primary schools that girls aren’t as good at maths as this was the same attitude 20 years ago and our Curriculum has changed for the better. Mathematics is a universal language so we should be giving everyone the confidence and competence to excel at it.