Math anxiety is the fear that one won’t be able to do the math or the fear that it’s too hard or the fear of failure which often stems from having a lack of confidence. For the most part, math anxiety is the fear about doing the math right, our minds draw a blank and we think we’ll fail and of course the more frustrated and anxious our minds become, the greater the chance for drawing blanks. Added pressure of having time limits on math tests and exams also cause the levels of anxiety grow for many students (from http://math.about.com/od/reference/a/anxiety.htm).
This same site also suggests the following to overcome this anxiety:
1. A positive attitude will help. However, positive attitudes come with quality teaching for understanding which often isn’t the case with many traditional approaches to teaching mathematics.
2. Ask questions, be determined to ‘understand the math’. Don’t settle for anything less during instruction. Ask for clear illustrations and or demonstrations or simulations.
3. Practice regularly, especially when you’re having difficulty.
4. When total understanding escapes you, hire a tutor or work with peers that understand the math. You can do the math, sometimes it just take a different approach for you to understand some of the concepts.
5. Don’t just read over your notes – do the math. Practice the math and make sure you can honestly state that you understand what you are doing.
6. Be persistent and don’t over emphasize the fact that we all make mistakes. Remember, some of the most powerful learning stems from making a mistake.
Using this info, I made the following suggestions at other blogs: