Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is It a Love-Hate Relationship With Math? Can We Call It Mathphobia?

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Eliza Osae-Kwapong

x + y = z, if x = 1 and y = -4, solve for z

  • Find the equation of a line
  • Evaluate a polynomial
  • Graph the line y = -6
  • The graph on the next page represents the equation 2x + y = 5. Refer to 'plotting coordinate points on a graph' in the 5th Edition of this textbook

Does this sound like a Thursday afternoon in a College Algebra Class? Or maybe a discussion session in an online Developmental Math class?

The person sitting next to you seems to be getting it. The first person to post on the discussion board sure answered the discussion question in detail. Is your first reaction, "Well, they may be good at math, some of us are just not born to do math"?

Sometimes in a math class, we may jump up for joy when we figure out a math problem we've tackled over the last few days. On other days, out of frustration, we might shut down the laptop or textbook when we cannot get the three points on the graph to line up in a straight line.

Numerous questions run through our minds: "How did we get ourselves into this mess?" "Should we stay up late to study math for 4 hours?" "Should we ask more questions in class?" "Do we hate math?" "Can we ever understand math?" "Can we ever overcome any math anxieties we have?"

Caroline Richards, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at American Public University wrote an insightful piece about "How to Break Through Your Mathphobia".

In the article, Caroline describes two mindsets - the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

The fixed mindset

This mindset believes that they were born a certain way with a certain level of intelligence and there is nothing they or anyone can do about it.

The growth mindset

This mindset on the other hand believes that if they challenge themselves and take it one step at a time, they can move away from the 'fixed mindset' and do the happy dance. This is the mindset we want to achieve on our math adventures.

Caroline discusses some great tips on how to reduce math anxiety and prepare yourself for success in a math class. My favorite part is when she mentions that, "Many students who are weak in math mistakenly think of it as a collection of thousands of unrelated formulas."

Math is not just a collection of unrelated formulas. Math is a process where one concept builds on another.

Polynomials might call on Order of Operations, Graphing might call on Positive and Negative Numbers, and the list goes on and on. So, don't drop that pen yet or put off that math class for years.

Start on your 'math success' journey today by adopting the growth mindset:

"Yes! I did it!"
"Oh! I get it now!"
"Now I understand why it is the way it is!"
"I never knew I could have fun with math!"
"Now, I think I like math!"
"I feel good about this now!"

We are ready to embark on the 'growth mindset' journey. We will ask questions till we get answers, and practice till it makes sense. One step at time we will develop our math skills.

Article Source:

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment