Q&A #543

Difficulties in understanding math problem

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From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Sep 08, 1998 at 20:27:38
Subject: Re: Difficulties in understanding math problem

Often times, the student is not very good with the English language and
reading so word problems only complicate mathematics.  Often, students want
recipes for how to do problems and don't want to THINK about solving
problems.  In our fast moving world, it takes time and patience to work
through a word problem. Time must be spent on the student trying to explain
what he/she knows and what he/she wants to know?  If they can organize the
thoughts, usually working word problems is easier!

    Mathophobia is a fear of doing mathematics.  If a student's attitude
about mathematics is one filled with worry and anxiety, than he/she cannot
devote the necessary thinking to solving word problems.  I often tell my
students, that I cannot get any information into their heads if the door to
their brains is closed!  That is what anxiety does to math.  Since math
takes place in the mind, students become preoccupied with their feelings and
do not allow the rational side to think and reason through the math.  There
is an older book called, Overcoming Math Anxiety, by Sheila Tobias that
might shed some light????

 -Claudia, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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