Q&A #174

Math anxiety

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From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 02, 1998 at 21:28:44
Subject: Re: Helping my 7th grader understand math

Gosh, sounds like things are way out of hand. Your daughter obviously has MAJOR math anxiety. Too much pressure put on a child at this age is very critical to her success in future math courses. Math anxiety is worse than any other "disease" I know because once the child buries herself in lack of self- confidence, it takes LOTS of TLC and patience to undo the damage done. Perhaps you or your husband have been in a tense situation (sports) whatever, and suddenly all eyes are on you and you choke! Sounds like that is what your poor daughter is doing. Trying to analyze it is probably only making things worse. If she can do the work on daily assignments, then she probably doesn't have a learning disability, just math anxiety. This could ruin you daughter's math life forever! How can you CALM the situation? Sometimes children this age are just not mature enough for algebra. Maybe things have been presented in a very abstract way and it doesn't make sense to her, but instead of finding a different teaching approach, it sounds like the situation has made her feel stupid and incompetent. She needs some real help, some real understanding, and someone who can rebuild her mathematical confidence!

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