## Maths Anxiety?

**No problem**!

Most parents say the subject that gives children the most trouble in school is maths. Parents also recognise that in today’s high-tech society, failure to be comfortable with maths and numbers can limit a person’s career potential.

Here’s the good news. As a parent, there are plenty of simple things that you can do to help. Start by learning the most common myths about maths.

Here’s the good news. As a parent, there are plenty of simple things that you can do to help. Start by learning the most common myths about maths.

**Maths myths**

- You need a “maths mind” to excel at maths.
- Boys are better at maths than girls.
- If you don’t crack maths early on you will never “get it”
- You’re either good at maths or English, never both.
- If you’re not fast at maths, you can’t be any good at them.

These are some common myths about maths. Your children probably hear and believe them on a daily basis. You probably did too, and maybe still do.

The truth is, there is no evidence that mathematics ability is related to brain power, nor that boys are any better at maths than girls. Children who are good at reading and language arts have all the cognitive equipment necessary to decode algebraic equations. It is not an either-or situation.

Finally, maths accuracy and performance do not depend on how quickly a problem is solved.

Anyone who wants to learn maths can. It is never too early or late to overcome difficulties with maths and the anxieties that surround them.

**What is maths anxiety?**

“Maths Anxiety” is a fear response to a maths situation – not a failure of

intelligence, but a failure of nerve. The problem is emotional,

not intellectual. Tension, lack of confidence and previous failure

can all result in the kind of anxiety that gets in the way of performance.

**Where does maths anxiety come from?**

Usually maths anxiety is a result of one or both of the following:

The style of the mathematics classroom.

In the typical maths class, there is little room for debate or discussion. Many pupils like English and social studies classes much better because there is not as much pressure to find the one right answer. It’s easier just to “turn maths off” rather than risk being “wrong.”

Take time to explain to your child that while mathematics does depend on the correct answers, it is really a series of discoveries – not necessarily a fixed set of rules to be digested whole and without dispute. It’s perfectly normal for some pupils to absorb it more slowly than others.

Pressure to perform quickly in front of a group.

Few people can think clearly with a clock ticking away. Especially if they’re standing at a whiteboard with 30 sets of eyes watching. Yet maths class is probably the place you’ll find pupils trying to solve problems in front of the room.

Most people, especially young people, do not do well when they are scared. Once the situation is corrected by means of careful teaching in a nurturing environment, the “I hate maths” symptoms usually disappear.

Help your child understand that the fear doesn’t have to do with maths, it has to do with the pressure.

**How can parents recognise maths anxiety?**

Signs of maths anxiety are fairly easy to recognise –

the most obvious being poor maths results.

Here are a few other signs to look for:

- Excuses such as “I don’t like maths,” “I can’t do maths,”

- Negative feedback from maths teachers.
- Fear of calculating maths problems in front of the class.
- Procrastination or avoidance of maths homework.
- Dropping maths as soon as it becomes a choice.

**Tips for maths mental health**- Talk to your child to get at the feelings that are inhibiting progress. If your child has trouble expressing himself, ask questions using the information on this page as a guideline.
- Don’t add to the pressure. Remember that self-confidence is crucial. Help your child to address maths anxiety, not run away from it.
- Encourage your child to do maths work aloud to explain the process. This will help you both identify where the problem areas are.
- Use pictures, symbols and concrete resources in place of numbers to make maths fun; allow your child to draw pictures if it will help.
- Don’t let your own maths anxieties interfere with your child’s progress.
- Consider outside resources, for extra help. Good supplemental education providers teach on a more personalised basis than traditional classrooms. They also focus on building self-esteem and “learning how to learn.”

**Willingness to learn**

Having good maths mental health doesn’t mean mastering all the

mathematics problems in the world. It is simply the willingness

to learn and being able to apply it in our everyday lives.

So if your child experiences maths anxiety, help encourage his or

her natural curiosity by helping him or her understand that it is

probably the experience, not the subject, that is getting in the way.

A marvellous maths programme, Ready, Set, Go-Maths is now available to primary schools.

Ready, Set, Go-Maths is designed to help children explore important mathematical concepts and skills and encourage an investigative approach to number.

All the resources required, together with training, to successfully implement Ready, Set, Go-Maths are also available.

Principals and teachers contact us to say, that pupils in schools that have been taught maths and early number using the Ready, Set, Go-Maths system have performed better when they come to do standardised maths tests such as, the Drumcondra Primary Mathematics Test and Sigma-T Standardised Irish Graded Mathematics Attainment Tests.

The success of this system is attributed to the two way communication process between the pupil and teacher which can be described as follows:

- The pupil uses materials with the teacher’s direction.
- The pupil uses his or her mathematical ideas.
- The pupil understands and uses suitable language.
- The pupil explains his or her ideas.

During the school year, information meetings will be held for parents who would like to learn more about Ready, Set, Go-Maths and how they may use the system to help their child.

To organise an information meeting or to book your place, just

**get in contact with us**!