Issue 8 - Christmas 2001
Do you dread decimals? Fear fractions? Does the thought of maths class have you running for the hills? Sounds like a bad case of Maths Anxiety.
But stressing will only make doing maths harder so say psychologists in the US. Maths Anxiety is what happens when students learn maths as separate facts recalled individually. If they can't remember one of these facts they panic and and get maths-block.
But there are ways to beat the block. One is to learn by linking new problems to things you already know. Don't rely on memory. Maths is a science of patterns, so build up your maths knowledge by connecting it together. There are other useful tips and information on how to combat maths anxiety at www.mathpower.com
However, the first and best thing you can do is relax. Mark Ashcraft at Cleveland State University in Ohio says that stressing about maths reduces the amount of working memory available in the brain for solving mathematical problems. Don't stress "Math anxiety is learned, so it can be unlearned and overcome," says Ashcraft.
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