A subject that is the reason behind causing every student to have nightmares is Mathematics. Maths can even be the cause of anxiety for some students.

From kindergarten to university, students often find themselves stuck in front of questions that are too difficult to deal with.

Moreover, one of the primary reasons behind the stress caused by maths is the fact that maths is an integral part of our academic career. Not only does maths help with real-life problems, but having a high-level maths degree opens up many avenues for our career and helps us in getting high paying jobs. Overcoming your fear of maths is a huge step towards professional and personal growth.

Stop banging your head against a wall and get help with maths!
Face your fear of maths head on! (Source: Superprof france)
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Helping to get over your fear

Each student from kindergarten to university is aware of the importance of maths in their career as well as in their day to day lives. Avoid psychological blocks often caused due to fear of getting the wrong answers.

Students know what to do when they are being taught. But, what if math became a reason for their anxiety attacks?

The fear of maths can lead to panic attacks and anxiety disorders and is quite a huge deal. Solving maths problems should made easy, in a way you understand better.

Listed here are certain tips that will help you get over your fear of math:

Certain people are maths naturals, others need help to advance.
Maths seems to come naturally to some and leaves other befuddled (source: Superprof.fr).
  • Private math teachers 

Taking private lessons from personal teachers in one of the best ways to learn maths. Private tuitions are quite common for school-goers as well as for college-goers. Not only is a private teacher able to understand the weaknesses and strengths of each of their students and deal with them in different ways, but private tuitions also make it possible for the students to open up to their teachers about their problems without fear of being judged.

Find your online maths tutor here.

  • Practicing maths regularly using relevant materials

Using practical objects like pie charts can make learning maths enjoyable. It needs a very simple and logical approach and helps the students understand better.

  • Specialised books

Going through specialised books designed for the betterment of students goes a long way when learning maths. Running away from difficult problems is not a solution.

  • Back to basics

Having a strong foundation is the key to becoming good at maths. Whenever you feel stuck somewhere, remind yourself to go back and brush up your basics.

Maths can be terrifying!
Maths exams fill some people with dread! (source: Craig Sunter, Flicker).

Getting to know the fear of maths

Bad experience when you were in kindergarten, high school, college, or university can be a major reason for your fear of maths. However, it is never too late to change your bad experience into a good one. One must know why they fear maths over other subjects.

Fear of maths is often the result of you being unable to learn a fundamental concept of maths, then failing to learn successive concepts as they depend on the initial one. Another cause is that people tend to think that the concepts of algebra, trigonometry, or calculus are boring and skip learning them intentionally.

What if you love math from day one? Some people tend to consider that being born with the mind of a genius like Albert Einstein is the way to understand the concepts of linear equations, geometry, trigonometry, and many other concepts. They believe that being an intuitive and creative student is the only way around maths as it lets you synthesise various areas that deal with knowledge.

For people who are not born with a love for math, things can be a lot more complicated. The inability to solve maths problems can even evolve into physical pain. Along with this, many students suffer from depression because they are unable to solve a particular question on the blackboard when the teacher asks them to.

Fear of maths, panic, anxiety, mental blockages can be a huge reason behind the development of a massive sense of disregard for maths in students. However, situations such as these can be dealt with in the following ways:

  • Acknowledging the good points and complimenting the student
  • Encouraging the student for his attempts
  • By not punishing the students
  • Paying attention to the cause behind the student's fear and panic
  • Teaching maths in a fun way by involving maths games

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It is possible to get over your fear

When we collectively look at the stress caused by different subjects like maths, physics, chemistry, and biology, it appears as if maths is not that difficult.

Scientific analysis shows that the human brain is more than capable of growing and shrinking. Mistakes while doing maths let our brain develop accordingly. Excluding anxiety and panic attacks caused by maths, stress, and de-stressing is fruitful. The cycle of getting stressed and then de-stressing helps the brain grow. It increases the number of neurons which enhances the way the human brain functions.

According to Boaler, only 3% of the human population face genuine difficulties while doing maths. The rest of the population faces problems with the stress that maths causes. Once they learn how to deal with the stress, they can even learn high-level maths without facing many difficulties. Hence, we should try to change anxiety and panic into what we call "good stress." This will help us get better at maths manifold.

Boaler has also proved that doing math under constant pressure in a time-bound environment is not fruitful at all. By cutting out the stress and time limit, students are seen to get better at maths more effectively. Concepts like algebra, geometry, and many others become easier to understand. You can even learn through games, which help you enjoy the subject more than usual.

 

Young students of maths can really benefit from alternative teaching approaches.
How can you help children who are stuck with maths? (Source: Superprof.fr)

 

Having fun while learning

The experience of learning maths should not always end up being bitter.

To cut out the anxiety and panic caused by maths, having fun while learning maths is the best solution. Not only does it make the process of learning more engaging, involving games while learning also helps you retain most of the things that you are being taught. It reduces the amount of suffering you go through while learning up tables by heart.

A lot of websites are available, which have developed a lot of fun ways to teach maths to kids as well as adults:

  • BBC Bitesize maths games- Designed to teach maths in a fun way, BBC Bitesize maths games use a lot of different fun-filled techniques to teach kids their way around numbers. By using cartoons to portray the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and many other such concepts, learning becomes fun.
  • BBC Skills wise maths games for adults- Designed to teach maths to adults with the help of visualization, this website is really helpful for learning the more complicated concepts of maths.
  • Top Marks- This website was developed to train kids in maths aged 3-14 years using fun games. Games like counting games, whiteboard games, and many more such games make the website useful.

Along with these games, a lot of applications have also been developed to make learning more fun. Problems having fun solutions and fun maths problems are of great help when a student is feeling down after a boring theoretical class of maths. Some of the apps are iTooch, Edupad, and math masters. Anxiety caused by maths can be reduced to a great extent by using fun math games.

A lot of free resources available online also helps to a great extent when it comes to learning math.

Revising the concepts of maths

Math is a universal language. The experience of learning maths is similar to that of learning a foreign language. Like one has to study the basics properly while learning a new language, learning maths also requires you to have an excellent base. If your base is weak, you must immediately go back and brush up your basics. Even when going for higher degrees, one always needs to brush up their basic concepts before they can go further.

Hiring a private maths teacher makes learning even better. The fact that you get the undivided attention of the teacher all the time and you don't feel 50 odd eyes staring at you when you are clearing your doubts, has a lot of positive impact on your experience of learning maths.

However, a lot of people prefer to learn by themselves. With the help of specialized books, it becomes possible for self-learners to be competent at doing months. Not only books but also websites and applications developed for this makes it easy. Also, a lot of tricks and tips available online makes the whole concept of being self-taught possible. Instead of dwelling in agony because of your inability to do maths, you can use these methods to get better at maths.

Flashcards: Having separate flashcards for each concept not only makes revision easier, but it also helps you to learn maths much faster by incorporating the art of visualization.

Solving past year question papers: Going through the previous year's question papers also helps a lot by giving you an idea about the kind of questions you can expect from a certain topic.

Learning maths with LEGO: Using lego to learn maths is an enjoyable way to go about it as well.

Conclusion

No matter how impossible it may seem, getting over your fear of maths is very much possible. Once you get to the root of your fear of maths and fix it, you will easily be able to get over your fear of maths.  Some of the best ways to make your maths better are hiring a private teacher, using resources like videos and blogs available online, taking the help of specialised books and revising your basics. Mostly importantly, if you have fun while learning maths, you will remember the lessons longer. As a teacher, in order to be more effective, never punish your students if they make mistakes. Always be patient and appreciate the efforts of your students.

 

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Koel