5 Ways to Help Students Overcome Math Anxiety

Written by Jessica Robinson

It happens so often that students tend to feel that math is a hard nut to crack. In fact, as teachers, we come across the grim reality that many students are afraid of mathematics. It seems no less than a monstrous subject to them. Many students give up on mathematics even without trying enough. So, what are we supposed to do as teachers in such a scenario? Of course, math is essential for personal development as well as the grades of students. We cannot let students run away from mathematics, can we? 

These tips will help your kids overcome their math anxiety. Overcoming math anxiety can be done!

The best way to make students do well in mathematics is to identify their fear of mathematics. Once we recognize that a student finds mathematics daunting, we can then help him. As teachers, our responsibility is not to only teach the curriculum, but also to inspire students. Learning remains incomplete unless learning is effective. Hence, students should be made to realize that mathematics is no nightmare. With hard work, more practice, and additional help from teachers, they can perform well in mathematics. But, the first thing we need to do is help them get over their fear of mathematics. Here are ways to help students overcome their math anxiety and grow to love math.

These tips will help your kids overcome their math anxiety. Overcoming math anxiety can be done!

5 Ways to Help Students Overcome Math Anxiety

1. Work on confidence building 

Once a student performs poorly in a mathematics exam, he tends to lose confidence. In the subsequent encounters with the subject, the student remains nervous and anxious. So, you can give students regular confidence-building exercises in mathematics. The more confident a student feels about this subject, the lesser is the fear of it. When they think more flamboyant, mathematics will not seem demonic. Besides, such exercises can encourage self-efficiency in students. Hence, it is time you look to create some essential mathematical assignments for inspiring more confidence in students. This can be an excellent way to help students deal with stress related to the subject.

2. Boost necessary numerical skills in students 

Students fear a subject when their basics are not clear. In the case of mathematics, this happens with a lot of students. So, as a math teacher, you need to help students develop the necessary numerical skills. Fundamentals of mathematics like geometry and trigonometry may seem too complicated to them unless their basics are straightforward. You need to identify which students are weak in basic mathematical operations. Then to help them learn better, you can make basic practice sets for them. Once they polish their basics, they will be more confident and less anxious. It becomes easier for them to perform better! For example, most students struggle with the basic rules of PEMDAS. In such a scenario, you can offer them additional exercises of PEMDAS. 

3. Take a ‘one step at a time’ approach.

Learning is a step by step process. It is better to go slow and help students to overcome the fear of mathematics as they slowly build their math skills. Students learn at their own pace, and the pace will be slightly slower when it comes to a daunting subject. You can divide the entire course into smaller sections. This make it easier for students to understand each topic. This is far more advantageous for students who are not very confident about mathematics. Otherwise, a fast-paced course of mathematics can be a cause of stress for students. Students should feel utter happiness while learning mathematics and not anxiety. Hence it is better to take one step at a time. 

4. Gamify Mathematics 

Students engage in active learning when teachers add an element of fun to education. Interestingly, mathematics comes with a host of topics that can be gamified. Besides, students love to play games, and participating in mathematical games will help their cause. Not only will they be less afraid of the subject but will also develop an eagerness for it. So, you can include game-based learning in your mathematics classroom. You can choose from various quizzes, puzzles, and brainstorming activities that relate to multiple topics of mathematics. This is a simple way to motivate students to take more interest in mathematics. Also, such a fun-filled environment can help you to deal with your stress as well. 

5. Make room for a growth mindset. 

As a teacher, you should create growth mindsets in your students irrespective of the subject to teach. This is not for mathematics alone but can be applied in every subject. A growth mindset means that a student can grow and learn in his abilities. At an age where the minds of students are constantly evolving, such an attitude is vital. But you may be wondering how to develop a growth mindset in students, right? It is not very complex to do so. All you need is to encourage your students to take more risks and be more open to challenges. Let them go wrong if they do in the process, but this willingness to initiate will be so significant to them. In every sphere of life, risk-taking is an excellent way to bust fear. Allow students to experiment with mathematics and go wrong. In this way, they can develop greater confidence linked to their numerical abilities. 

These tips will help your kids overcome their math anxiety. Overcoming math anxiety can be done!

To wrap up, mathematics is a fascinating and high scoring subject if students work hard. Still, some students feel deterred by the concepts of mathematics. These fundamentals may look complicated at the onset, but they are comfortable if students are dedicated and diligent towards learning. Besides, educators can do a lot to help students look beyond the fear of mathematics. As teachers, we can divide the curriculum into small parts, make learning fun, and work on the basics. Students must have their basics clear before they move onto complex domains of mathematics. We ought to offer students as much additional support as they need with mathematics. At last, it is essential to be patient with students’ learning of the subject as there can be understanding gaps. 

Being an educational writer at ‘The Speaking Polymath’ Jessica Robinson puts her dedicated efforts to bring into notice every subject which affects the lives of her readers.