Math Anxiety: Addressing it in Whole Group and Small Group Discussions
We are in the middle of testing season. Children’s emotional state of being can definitely impact how they do on their math exams. The National Math Report states that “Anxiety is an emotional reaction that is related to low math achievement, failure to enroll in advanced mathematics courses, and poor scores on standardized tests of math achievement. Math anxiety creates a focus of limited working memory on managing anxiety reaction rather than on solving the math problem, but it can be reduced by therapeutic interventions.”
How are you addressing the stress? Do you ever ask your students how they are feeling about the math? Do you teach them relaxation techniques? Teach them how to stop and simply take a deep breath and tell themselves they can do it. The report says we need to explore the idea of self-efficacy and its impact on learning math more. It notes that “self-efficacy (i.e., the belief that one has the specific skills needed to be successful, which differs from self-esteem)” can impact a students engagement, persistence and confidence in math class.