Math Anxiety Essay

Anxiety is a clinical term meaning fear. Anxiety can be triggered by people, places or things. Anxiety is displayed in the form of panic attacks. Panic attacks causes one to have a rapid heartbeat, cold sweats, dry mouth, forgetfulness, and the need to run away. The thing about anxiety is that it can be a slow encounter or a quick onset (Tobias, 1993). In some cases, just the thought of the trigger can cause panic like symptoms to prevail. Even though, the medical terminology may vary.

The outcome is the same. Anxiety causes discomfort and fear.

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In addition, it can halt a person’s life and create boundaries. Math anxiety is actually very common, millions of people deal with it. The thought of the algebraic equations and the geometric terminology can cause many to avoid math. Often times math can make one less confident to ask for a promotion or limit educational strides, all because of math anxiety. Math anxiety is very common but there are preventive measures to reduce and in cases, eliminate it (Tobias, 1993).

What are ways to overcome math anxiety? Some would suggest avoidance.

However, as a college student that is seemingly impossible. Research has proven that varying methods of teaching can reduce anxiety. A positive, strength based system would help to calm the fears and doubt related to math. Teaching methods can enhance a successful response to math (Tobias, 1993). Having a student experience the success of math with minimal failure can encourage and empower. Studies show students learn more when they actively participate (Spikell, 1993). My history with math anxiety, does it add up?

Math has always been a challenge for me. The addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication are handled with ease. The logic of basic math seems a bit more realistic. The use of this basic math can be easily be related to everyday life skills. However, the true barrier is valid with algebra and geometry, the mother and father of math anxiety. The letter and number combinations can be overwhelming, for me. The strategic form is strict. There is not an opportunity to alter. Math simply states, “It’s my way or the highway. This causes my creative mind to be caged with fear. The deep breathes, the confusion, the agony, the defeat. My history with math is tedious and expensive. I have bought computer programs, books, and even hired tutors. I survive the math anxiety now but I also learn how to cope with it, avoidance. How have I dealt with math anxiety in the past? These articles were selected because they highlight the reality of math anxiety. The author suggests that math causes anxiety because of the correlation between math and unpaid bills, and the IRS.

The use of Self-talk, lock on/lock out, and visualization can be helpful but studies show that positive reinforcements, cooperative groups, visual aids and hands on activity have the greatest success(Tobias, 1993). Currently, I manage my stress and anxiety with math. Cooperative groups have helped me because of the support it offers. The groups enable the students to exchange ideas with others and express the anxiety. To conclude, once we can view math as fun and exciting math anxiety will decrease.

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