**Confronting the Anxiety of Mathematics: Embracing the Challenge**

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**INTRODUCTION**

Do you experience the feeling of extreme anxiety, concern, and hopelessness while tackling a mathematics problem? Do you fail in math even if you are successful in other subjects and struggle with changing your perspective from math-related failure to more positive approach towards it? If your answer is yes then you are in the right place, keep reading. You can put an end to your fears, feel and enjoy the beauty of mathematics since in this article, I will talk a bit about the causes of math phobia and then talk about techniques to overcome it.

Actually, in this article, my aim is to help students to overcome their anxieties about math. However, I will also address the factors contribute math phobia because mostly such students think that the reason of their phobia stems from their lack of innate intelligence, but this is totally wrong. Believe me you are intelligent enough and by reading this article you will take the first step in being successful in math. Feel excited? So, let’s start…

**REASONS OF MATH ANXIETY**

Throughout the history of education, mathematics has always been in the forefront position not only in terms of the importance but also in term of the difficulty among other subjects. But why is math widely perceived as the “most difficult subject” by most student which leads to phobia of math? Teachers are one of the primary reasons.

The studies show that teachers’ behaviours and teaching methods, parents’ behaviours have a significant impact on students’ anxiety about math. I will explain how it works. Providing with poor explanations, using “explain-practice-memorize” teaching method, gender-based prejudice, bullying, aggression are some examples of these behaviours that kill students’ motivation, interest.

Especially, I think “explain-practice-memorize” method is the main source of math anxiety. This pedagogical approach isolates facts form reasoning and the problem-solving process and neglects the development of logical thought processes and students don’t understand topic very well and be passive learner which de-motivate them. Furthermore, teachers and parents with math anxiety can transfer it to their children.

For example, such parents usually tent to scold their children for their mistakes and as a result children become apprehensive about making mistakes and hate math. Since they are not motivated to study, they begin to avoid math and as a result they fail in the exams. This cyclic process happens again and again which cause students to feel anxious about math. Let me show this in simple a diagram:

**HOW TO OVERCOME THE PHOBIA OF MATHEMATICS**

I have read a lot of various research papers related to math anxiety. But most of them focus on what teacher can do to reduce students’ anxiety about math. But in this article, I want to talk about what students can do for themselves to reduce their fear of mathematics, because not every student has a good experience with their math teachers. I will make it very simple:

**Believe yourself**

To be able to conquer fear of math, first you should be aware of the fact that math success DOESN’T depend on innate intelligence, it depends on how hardworking and motivated you are. As I mentioned above, you just had or have some bad experiences with your teachers, parents and so on and these experiences affect your emotions and thinking way in an adverse way, leading you to falsely convince yourself that you’re incapable of math. So, please don’t delude yourself with these lies. In the next part I will explain more detailed how your thinking way affects your success.

**Growth vs fixed mindsets**

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has found that your mindset which is a collection of your beliefs has a significant effect on your goals and achieving them. According to him, there are two mindsets: fixed and growth mindsets. People who have fixed mindsets usually think that intelligence and ability are fixed quantities and can’t be changed, in other words, you possess inherent intelligence and abilities that won’t change over the time. Such people mostly believe that their intelligence or abilities may not be sufficient to achieve their goals. In contrast, those with growth mindsets view such characteristics as improvable over time with efforts and strategies. The table below shows some examples:

Fixed mindset | Growth mindset |

I failed because I’m dumb. | I failed, maybe I need a new strategy. |

I am either good at it or I’m not. | I can learn anything I want |

When I fail, I am not good. | When I fail, I learn |

I give up when it gets too hard | I try until I get the result, I want |

Why is it important to have growth mindset? How it helps students to deal with math phobia? Studies involving a wide range of students show that there is a strong connection between students’ mindsets and achievements in math. This is because students with growth mindsets take control of their thought and motivate themselves to try hard rather than giving up. So, if you are a student with fixed mindset, don’t worry, because most people even don’t realize that they have fixed mindset. Just try to think positively, at first, it will be challenging but by not giving up you will take the first step in being growth mindset. Believe me, after a while you will see how much you changed.

**Finding Some Sources**

Together with growth mindset, try to find a good tutor that will help you in your challenge. If your family have financial difficulties, then apply for organizations that provide free one-to-one tutoring for students from family with low-income. In addition, there are free online courses on internet, YouTube that will help you on understanding concepts. Furthermore, books are the best sources for knowledge, just go library and take a glance at books and find the one that explain concepts best. However, while searching for book, don’t try to find a book that explain everything in a best version. There may be such cases that in one book, some concepts are explained best, while in other books, other topics are explained better. So, you can use more than one book. Lastly, I want to say that I recommend you always to use books and internet as a source besides getting help from tutor since even if they are challenging, they will help you to be a self-learner.

**SUMMARY**

As you can see, your negative experiences with math cause phobia of math by affecting your thoughts and emotions badly. This means that the belief that math ability is innate is a big lie that you tell yourself. By changing your mindset to growth mindset, you can be successful in mathematics. Actually, it is not only about math, with growth mindset you can achieve anything you want by putting enough effort and motivation. So, don’t waste your time and today turn over a new leaf with new thinking way – “I can do anything I want with enough effort and right strategies”.

Good luck 😊.

## 5 Responses

What are some free tutoring services that you recommend? I tried a few but they were either to full or too low quality in content.

Thank you for your comment. JAXTHRIVE, Step Up Tutoring, BlueOwl Learning Consulting, Ballers & Bookworms Nonprofit Corporation are some examples to such organizations.

Thank you for your comment. JAXTHRIVE, Step Up Tutoring, BlueOwl Learning Consulting, Ballers & Bookworms Nonprofit Corporation are some examples to such organizations.

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out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

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