Math Anxiety

Topics: Mathematics, Mathematical anxiety, Anxiety Pages: 3 (858 words) Published: August 19, 2013
What is Math Anxiety?

June 5, 2012

What is math anxiety? Math anxiety is an intense frustration, and the fear of failing, freezing up, or forgetting what to do in the area of mathematics. Math anxiety is a lack of confidence in one’s self to do well in math and the notion of being judged, or made fun of for not doing well. Math anxiety is an emotional reaction to mathematics based on a past and unpleasant experience which has damaged a student’s self-esteem and thus, harms future opportunities to better their math skills. Because sufferers have such an overwhelming fear of failing or being judged, they will avoid performing mathematical calculations at all costs. Therefore, a problem arises; to do better, we must practice. But, if we’re too afraid of failing to practice, we do not get any better. -------------------------------------------------

There are many different descriptions of what mathematics anxiety truly is, and each victim may have his or her own interpretation of how math anxiety makes them feel. Tobias and Weissbrod (1980) describe mathematics anxiety as, “the pains, helplessness, paralysis, and mental disorganization that arises among some people when they are required to solve a mathematical problem”. Tobias (1978), who wrote Overcoming Math Anxiety, is referred to as a pioneer in the study of mathematics anxiety. Richardson and Suinn (1972), made the first instrument the measures and calculates mathematic anxiety – Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (MARS). He described math anxiety as the “feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulations of numbers and the solving of ordinary life and academic situations”. These two definitions depict math anxiety as being a more psychological and physiological; others have explained mathematics anxiety to be specifically based off of emotions. Spicer (2994) said that mathematics anxiety is “an emotion that blocks a person’s...

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