Math, universally, has been a worrying topic for ages.
Many kids fail to do math homework, and they even get anxious whenever math is brought in question.
Research has shown that persons with higher levels of math anxiety poorly perform in math whereas those with little or no phobia for math perform spectacularly well.
Understanding the learning speed of each student, especially in math, could be a lifesaver both to the tutor and the learner. Every person has a specific learning speed and learning type.
So, what can math teachers do to facilitate positive change? Here are some tips and approaches that they can implement to reduce the anxiety surrounding math and homework assignments.
5 Ways to Make Students Feel Less Anxious:
1. Instead of labeling and ranking, change your teaching accordingly.
The first approach is to stop treating each of your students the same and ranking them from good to bad. Instead adapt your teaching to fit each student’s needs. Some learn differently and faster than others. Some have difficulties in different pieces of knowledge, some are different types of learners. Know your students and teach them accordingly.
2. Give step by step explanations.
This second approach is to try and make your teaching as a step by step guide. It might not work with every thing, but do it as much as you can. Step by step reduces anxiety because when students know the steps ahead of them they can see the pathway. We have anxiety when we do not have a clear look of the road ahead. Appreciate the effort given by them and let them have a step by step understanding of the math formulae’s in each topic tutored.
3. Encourage your students.
Be of warm heart and welcome all challenges they face no matter how silly or inept the problem might seem. A confident student face no difficulty in mastering math. Boost their esteem by encouragement.
4. Tell stories.
If students are to be taught about profit, loss and discount, instead of attacking the concepts straightaway through some formulae and exercises, they could be explained in the form of a story centered around a family vacation, involving expenditure and expenses of travel, or some example you’ve seen in a movie.
5. Put lessons in practice.
Another way to counter students’ phobia is through the use of hands on activities and lab sessions. If students apply the concepts they learn first hand, they will not only understand better but they will have less anxiety and also be more engaged in the learning process.