Is your failure at doing maths the reason behind your sadness and depression? “Who’s afraid of maths?” by Anne Siety states that failure at being good at maths is no way equivalent to not being intelligent.

When you are not good at maths, and you try to make things better, it happens that you get stuck somewhere and all the motivation is lost.

Having a strong dislike for math can result in you being stuck in a rut and feeling pain. It can even give you panic attacks, anxiety, and headaches. Most students have a psychological block when they talk about practising maths.

On the other hand, some people actually love solving maths problems. Learning the concepts of algebra, trigonometry, fractions, integration, and many more such concepts is a treat for them. They get pleasure out of solving maths problems.

On what basis is a person who loves doing maths different from a person who hates doing maths? Is there any way to beat these challenges head-on and cope up with your fear and anxiety?

What is the reason behind the existence of two contrasting groups of people?

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Prior bad experience at the school level

One of the major causes behind having fear for maths is the education system in our schools. Even maths lovers will confirm this statement. There can be multiple reasons why students tend to avoid studying and practising maths.

Our education system follows the pattern of discovery, explanation, and teaching. Most of the concepts are based on theoretical knowledge. The lack of practical application is one of the major reasons behind the inability of students to grasp the essential knowledge required to be competent in doing maths. Most of the concepts are not related to real life.

On top of that, math becomes boring and repetitive due to the preset norms that we follow. It includes learning a chapter, going through its concepts, solving problems, becoming good at solving problems by getting the right answer all the time, and then moving on to the next chapter. This vicious cycle continues as long as a student remains a part of this education system.

Another big concern in the current education system is schools differentiating between “weak” and “good” students based on their ability to do maths. This factor causes a lot of students to give up if they are a bit slow to cope up with maths. Not only this, but they also go into depression and start thinking that they are not intelligent.

A lot of times, students are asked to come up and solve a particular problem on the class board. Add to this another 50 odd students watching. This makes the whole scenario very intimidating. Due to this, the fear of not being able to solve the problem in front of the entire class becomes even stronger.

In order to be good at maths, one has to have a solid base. Without a strong foundation, taking up maths as a core subject in high school or college becomes extremely difficult.

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Students can experience psychological blocks and anxiety in maths
Mental blockages are frequent occurrences, from primary school to university (source: Superprof.fr).

Learning maths: is it all about brainstorming?

Some people have the inborn talent of being good at maths while some people struggle a lot. Why does this difference exist?

People with a lot of curiosity do not shy away from trying different things and do not face any difficulty while doing maths. Ever since they were young, they found out numbers to be very interesting.

What makes people good at maths? What is the reason behind the success of so many mathematicians and scientists?

The answer is having the ability to decipher information, the ability to guess, and surprisingly enough, creativity.

Mathematicians not only use the left hemisphere of their brain, which is known as the reasoning and analytical side, but they equally balance it with the use of the right hemisphere of the brain which is known as the creative and emotional side.

In real life, both hemispheres of the brain work together and simultaneously. Therefore, while doing maths or any other work, both sides of our brain are used.

There are ways to make maths easy, you just need to find one that is comfortable for you.

Why do people find taking maths tuition painful?

According to research, Stress can activate the part of our brain, which is responsible for physical pain. It can be the result of waiting for a problem.

For a lot of people, maths can be stressful to the extent of paralysing them. Often, when students face problems in maths, they find that behind the problems lie their own demons. Behind the face of complex numbers, a student might see his position in his family, or behind the face of integration, lies his fear of the unknown.

Not only this, the shame of not being able to solve a problem in front of the whole class, or an inpatient teacher looking down upon his students instead of finding the root of their difficulties leaves a grave mark on the student. This leads to a lot of damage in the future.

Surprisingly few people are naturally untalented at maths.
In a crowd, only a tiny minority are unable to succeed at maths (source: Unsplash).

What is the reason behind the hatred for math?

Maths is a subject which takes a lot of practice, perseverance, dedication, and effort. Some people, while they are good at other subjects because they give those subjects enough time, are often unable to cope up with maths due to the lack of time and dedication. A lot of students hate maths, there are multiple factors, some of them are psychological, while others are due to lack of focus and interest.

Mental blockages are, most of the time linked to bad memories related to our prior experience. Strict, hard teachers is one of the primary reasons behind this.

Maths is a subject that requires a lot of effort- even to the extent of making some students cry. However, without tears, being successful at maths is not possible as maths is an abstract subject being taught by a teacher; not opening up to the teacher results in you blocking off the subject yourself. Most of the time, the right help is given to students at the right time.

Hence, the phobia of maths should not be allowed to develop in students. Parents should take notice of such development and should immediately look after their children by arranging tuition for them, or taking them to a counselor if they head into this direction.

Enthusiasm for maths is an unfortunately rare phenomenon.
"Isn't maths great!" ...is a rarely-heard phrase (source: Jisc)

Is it possible to actually get over your fear of math?

Sometimes, taking personal tuitions does not go according to plan. It does not work like a magic potion. For situations like this, taking the help of a child psychologist is more helpful. According to Anne Seity, putting the errors into different categories such as Symbolic errors, Inconsequential errors, errors of progression and poetic errors often go a long way into studying the relationship between maths and children.

  • Symbolic errors- refers to the way a child asks questions and their characteristics
  • Inconsequential errors- refers to small errors
  • Errors of progression- refers to forgetting an old chapter while learning a new one.
  • Poetic Error- Refers to getting confused because of words.

Parents play the most crucial role in the life of their children when they are facing a mental blockage, or trying to regain their lost confidence while learning maths.

For people who feel that maths is not for them, they can become good at maths once they clear out their mental blockage and follow the mathematical path that is followed at, for example, a veterinarian school.

Listed here are some tricks that can help a student get back on the right track:

  • Concentrate on the areas of success.
  • For attempting to learn the topic, praise the student for making an effort.
  • Do not use punishment as a method of treatment for failure at learning maths
  • Lay emphasis on learning the problems that the student is facing
  • Use maths games in order to make learning more fun. Students learn best when they are having fun while learning.

“Why do some people fear maths while others love doing it?”

There are quite a few answers one can come up with related to this question.

The first point is the ability of a student to learn the various concepts and theories required to be good at math — the ability of a student to understand logical reasoning.

The second point is having some trauma from some bitter experience. Bad teachers and unrealistic methods of teaching in schools are a prime cause of this kind of bad experience. Most of the times, this kind of knowledge affects the lives of students even when they become an adult.

Is solving maths problems difficult for you?

The solution to such problems is in going to the root of what’s causing the problem in the first place. It can be via one on one consultation with a psychologist, or from private tuition available from Superprof itself.

Are you a maths teacher?

The role of a teacher in the life of a student is invaluable. A good teacher paves the way that a student should follow in order to be successful.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the first thing you should focus on is getting rid of your fear of maths. Once you are able to do that, learning maths will become much easier. This fear of maths can be prevalent due to a lot of different reasons. Bad experience while learning maths in school, strict tuition teachers at home, or it may be caused simply by the popular belief that maths is hard. Even though a lot of people think that it is not possible to get over your fear of maths, the reality is totally different. If you follow the right techniques and use the right resources, learning maths can even be fun.

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Koel