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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