ERIC Number: ED170084
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Math Avoidance: A Barrier to American Indian Science Education and Science Careers.
BIA Education Research Bulletin, v6 n3 p1-8 Sep 1978
For American Indian students, math anxiety and math avoidance are the most serious obstacles to general education and to the choice of scientific careers. Indian students interviewed generally exhibited fear and loathing of mathematics and a major lack of basic skills which were caused by a missing or negative impression of the mathematics capabilities of Native Americans, a generally negative image of mathematicians and scientists, dislike and fear of math forms without visible application to daily life and which require abstraction as a major tool, a perception of math courses and requirements as rigid, and a self-perception, often fostered by school couselors, of hopeless inadequacy in math skills. Because most of the students interviewed had attended public schools the implication is that public school math and science preparation is lacking for all, but especially for minority students. Changing math instruction can help remedy the situation. Some successful attempts at math instruction for Indian students employ a supportive atmosphere for math learning; individualized, non-competitive programs, tutorials, math anxiety clinics, exposure to Indian role models, courses with an applied focus directly related to a career or community need, and initial math skills education based on everyday mathematics. (SB)
Descriptors: Abstract Reasoning, American Indian Education, American Indians, Anxiety, Career Choice, Career Planning, College Students, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Mathematical Applications, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Teachers, Public Schools, Science Careers, Science Education, Student Attitudes, Tutoring
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Bureau of Indian Affairs (Dept. of Interior), Washington, DC.