We all can vouch for that formidable influence the subject of Maths has had on us. That panic during Math classes, while doing the homework, or even the thought of studying it for exams. Most often we come across statements like “I just need passing marks and then I will be done with this”.
Even though we have always acknowledged the fear, no one ever took a pause to question the source of and the reason behind this “Math anxiety/phobia”. Let’s take a few moments to understand the bad reputation of mathematics and how to redeem it for the fun subject it is.
Let’s look at some possible sources that nourish this fear and establish themselves as strong reasons for steering clear of mathematics-
This acts as a major contributor to anxiety. Without acquiring the fundamentals, children are expected to carry out complex calculations. This adds to the uncertainty of getting the right answers and grows into anxiety.
More often than not, rather than leaning towards a method that is easy to comprehend, teachers employ methods that are difficult to understand as well as to apply in the real world.
From an early stage, before attending a proper school, children form a fun association with activities like reading, writing, and drawing by engaging with their parents. But with maths, even though it is equally important in day-to-day life, there is no engagement with it for fun. By the time they reach the school stage, these concepts are new to them and they are not able to interpret them in their own light.
The objectivity of the subject can be intimidating for kids who are already afraid of failure. Just like a test, the existence of a right or wrong answer and the time restrictions can be an added burden.
With a subject like maths, the approach of learning through mistakes has never been motivated. Rather than evaluating their mistakes, students get demotivated, planting the ultimate doubt of incapacity in their heads.
Even with thorough understanding, without timely practice, the concepts will easily get lost on students. There could be situations in which students might have a good grasp of concepts but while practicing the problems, they struggle.
Apart from the personal development, the subject has to offer, Maths plays an immense role in aiding future career options. With competitive exams being channels for admissions and placements, understanding the concepts of maths has become imperative as it is present in all such exams.
It’s true that maths is everywhere. Even though it’s painful to accept the same but be it for a CEO, biologist, rocket scientist, artist, or even for a real estate agent, maths shows its significance for all walks of life. These days, with coding becoming a hobby for most of the youth, having a good understanding of maths is going to help them further their interests and talent.
Our brain develops important neural pathways to process information. The construction of mathematics acts as food for the brain which modifies the functioning of our brain, contributing to greater creative and analytical skills. When children solve a problem by breaking it down to its premises, observing the relations, and approaching it rationally, it prepares them for real-world problems and they are able to utilize certain parts of the brain more reliably.
The subject definitely deserves a second chance and innovative methods of teaching and introducing this subject can provide the necessary redemption-
Mathematics has always been misconstrued and that is a collective fault. As we saw, there are so many contributing factors to this anxiety. But, this can also be collectively rectified by comprehensive and enhanced efforts on the part of teachers and parents and we know there is a lot of help available out there, with innovations taking place every day.
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