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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