Q&A #174

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Math anxiety

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From: Andrea

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001022315:17:10
Subject: Re: Helpful tip for parents/students

I'm a 2nd year 8th grade teacher after a career change. I say this only so you take my suggestions in stride. I completely agree that math anxiety is lack of confidence, either in math or in test taking. Last year I worked with 2 very anxious students by taking the pressure off the testing situation. They received the same test, but only a few questions at a time, and were allowed to come back after school to take the remainder of the test. Over time, they received a page at a time (they were usually 2 page tests) then by the end of the school year they received the whole test. It was never easy for them, but there was improvement. I also had an interesting conversation with a student this year who does extremely poorly on tests. I asked her to describe how she takes tests, exactly what she does. Turns out she reads the whole test, all the problems, then starts to address them one-by-one. She gets confused about what information applies to which problem!!! Next test I reminded her to read one at a time then work on it, then move on. She passed, which is a BIG improvement! What I'm learning is that you really have to help students verbalize where their difficulty is and then try to address that problem.

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