November 23, 2022
Math is often considered the most universal language on the planet. Nearly as universal (or so it may seem) is the fear of math. Trust us — Y4Y gets it! That’s why we’re proud to introduce our newest course, Math Without Fear, designed to put educators and students alike at ease if they experience math anxiety. After all, math is essential to so many professions — and dreams!
Math Anxiety: The Silent Villain
Think back to the last time you did a math assignment or took a math test. Did you take one look at the first problem and notice your heart started beating faster? Perhaps your palms became sweaty, your stomach suddenly felt uneasy, or your mind went blank. If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it’s likely that you’ve experienced math anxiety. Math anxiety in children and adults is a very real and serious issue, and it can inhibit success in a multitude of areas. With this in mind, we’re overjoyed to dedicate an entire Y4Y course to overcoming math anxiety, along with tools to bust math myths and fears — for yourself, your peers, and students!
The Mathbuster MUSTs
There are many tools you can use to take charge and put math anxiety in its place, from deep breathing to debunking myths like “mistakes mean you’re not good at math” and “boys are better at this than girls” and “being anxious about math means I don’t have math ability.” MUST is an acronym for the four main tools mathbusters use to fight math anxiety and nurture a can-do attitude:
- M is for the messages students get about math and their ability to learn it.
- U is for understanding math concepts and how thoughts and emotions affect learning.
- S is for skills that help you learn and use math — and manage anxiety, if it’s an issue.
- T is for thrills because students need positive experiences to help them discover the magic and satisfaction of math in a way that’s meaningful to them.
It Starts With Awareness
Believe it or not, awareness of math anxiety within yourself and your students is one of the most valuable strategies “mathbusters” can have in their tool kit! You can use the Y4Y Math Anxiety Self-Assessment/Autobiography tool to gauge your own level of math anxiety before inviting students to do the same. Research indicates math anxiety is contagious, so if you have it yourself, you can pass it along to your students without even knowing it. If you do have it, don’t despair! The Y4Y Math Without Fear tools will help you take a deep breath and discover that doing math is not only possible — it can even be enjoyable!
Plant the Seed — and Watch It Grow!
One of the most empowering aspects of overcoming math anxiety is fostering growth within your students. There are ways to boost students’ confidence through enrichment activities, homework help, and tutoring. Helping students realize the many ways they already use math in their everyday lives can make it seem less intimidating. Fun experiences in your relaxed program environment can develop students’ conceptual understanding (“know-why”) to complement the math procedures (“know-how”) they learn in school. It isn’t surprising that a good deal of math anxiety stems from a fear of the unknown, so learning ways to demystify math will put you and your students on a rosier “math path.”
Let Us Help You Open Those Doors
Math is integral to understanding so many real-world concepts. For too long, metaphorical doors have been deadbolted due to math anxiety. The good news? With the strategies in Y4Y’s Math Without Fear course and supplemental tools, you and your staff have the power to pick that lock, throw those doors wide open, and lead students to a world of opportunities.