Addition, Subtraction, Division, Oh My! Struggling with Math Anxiety

Feb 16, 2022 | Bend

“I don’t like math,” “I can’t do the math,”; “it’s too hard,”; “I’ll never use it in the real world.”


This is the fixed mindset of many students. Math anxiety happens to people of all ages worldwide, and not only to just students.


A research article reported, approximately 93% of adult Americans experience some level of math anxiety. Alarmingly, around 17% of Americans suffer from high levels of math

anxiety, according to a study in the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment.


Working with numbers does not cause a simple feeling of nervousness. It is something truly scary for them. What’s worse? The student could completely understand the material but freeze under the anxiety. The good news is, there are various ways to tackle math anxiety head-on.




Positive reinforcement

Don’t reinforce your student’s or child’s anxiety with punishments. Instead, strive to reward them for what they do right! 

For Teachers: If a student struggles to solve an equation, ensure that it’s all right and help walk them through the steps. Alternatively, you could have them partner with other

students to solve it together.

For Parents: Instead of saying, “If you don’t finish your math work, you won’t get _____,” Try “If you finish your work, you can do/get _____.”


Embrace the fears

Anxiety isn’t a bad thing. In fact, worrying about something means you care about it, so it is so important to nurture that care. Let students write down their fears about trigonometry and take some time to discuss their anxiety. Talk to them about ways to work through their fear and help them see they have the resources and skills necessary to tackle it.


Encourage understanding, not memorization.

Memorization is valuable, but it is problematic when pushing it as the only way to learn. When you understand a concept and have used it, you no longer have to memorize it, since you understand the anatomy of it. The sooner you encourage understanding instead of memorization, the sooner students develop number sense and mental math skills.


Go at their pace

Some students will be adept at math, while others may require more attention to grasp the subject. When you notice a student is struggling, provide extra support to them rather than penalizing them for taking their time. One effective way to reach this goal is by having parents or classmates help as tutors to provide extra practice for students who need it. Remind everyone that math is not a race, as long as you’ve finished you’ve won!.


Make Math more engaging and fun.

Incorporate group activities and math games into your lessons that make educational opportunities fun!. Students will learn while they laugh.


Getting external help

Children with visible symptoms of math anxiety may struggle to catch up with basic mathematical concepts. This trend can increase over time, so it’s important to address the anxiety before the learning gap widens and becomes harder to correct. To prevent such outcomes, both parents and teachers must figure out if the child needs more attention and additional help.


Building confidence

A lack of confidence in math is common in children suffering from math anxiety. It can result from parental or peer pressure, the stress of performing well on tests or being

reprimanded. And this low confidence further hampers a child’s understanding and progress in math. To help students avoid feelings of envy towards peers who are stronger academically, it is important to create an environment where children can learn at a pace that fits for them; this includes fostering an educational environment that helps learners build confidence by encouraging questions and discussion, as well as giving adequate time for answers.


The biggest takeaway from this is that there is no one size fits all method to teaching math. Every student’s needs are different and unique from one another’s. That is why the Mathnasium method strives to support each student in a way that makes sense to them. We work to encourage understanding and confidence with the material so that every student realizes their potential. 


Call us today to schedule your assessment, we can’t wait to meet you!