Maths Anxiety in adult learners
By Jesse Omoregie, March 2018.
Mathematics Anxiety is a negative emotional reaction to mathematics which can be debilitating. It is generally known to propagate tension and anxiety which then interferes with the ability to manipulate numbers and inhibit the ability to solve mathematical problems in real life and academic situations. Some researchers have argued that mathematics anxiety is highly prevalent in The UK that it has become fashionable to say “I don’t know maths.” Centre for Neuroscience in Education specified that although, anxious feelings are a normal part of life, however, that anxiety can be so intense and occur so frequently and become a clinical condition.
Maths anxiety can cause a variety of problems such as; low self-esteem, unemployment, poor social economic status, and withdrawal from situations that involve maths. Although, several studies have shown a positive correlation between maths anxiety and poorer performances in maths tests and the application of functional maths in everyday life, however, the direction of correlation is unknown.
The good news is; mathematics anxiety can be overcome. There are some documented success stories of recovery from maths anxiety through some psychological techniques, mind-based mental exercises, and a boost in perceived control and some other predictors. In addition, exploring individual learning style and creating simple, interesting and engaging mathematics lessons can go a long way in supporting those with mathetics anxiety.
- Burghes, D., (2011). International comparative study in mathematics teacher training. Reading: CfBT Education Trust.
- Chinn, S., (2012). Beliefs, anxiety, and avoiding failure in mathematics. Child Development Research, 2012.
- Kesici, S., & Erdogan, A. (2009). Predicting college students’ mathematics anxiety by motivational beliefs and self-regulated learning strategies. College Student Journal, 43(2), 631.
- Roeser, R. W., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Jha, A., Cullen, M., Wallace, L., Wilensky, R. & Harrison, J. (2013). Mindfulness training and reductions in teacher stress and burnout: Results from two randomized, waitlist-control field trials. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 787.
- Roeser, R. W., Skinner, E., Beers, J., & Jennings, P. A. (2012). Mindfulness training and teachers’ professional development: An emerging area of research and practice. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 167-173.
- Tobias, S. (1993). Overcoming math anxiety. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
By Jesse Omoregie.