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ERIC Number: ED200296
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Math Anxiety and the Student of the '80's.
Smith, Jean Burr
As colleges take on increasing numbers of nontraditional students who have had only minimal exposure to mathematics, instructors must alleviate patterns of math anxiety and math avoidance which impede academic success, and, in a technological society, limit career opportunities. Among the obvious causes of math anxiety are: instructors' insistence on the right answer; the need to perform math skills with speed; and the fact that math knowledge is cumulative. Less obvious factors are: the defeat experienced when a student cannot master the next highest level of math skills; the myth that some people are not "mathematically minded"; and the inability of some students to handle frustration. Still another dimension of math anxiety is the low math self-esteem of many women. Research shows that while there is no difference between men's and women's math ability, many women believe that men are more mathematically capable. Given these anxiety patterns, math instructors must concentrate more on enhancing students' self-confidence. While some may argue that the introduction of anxiety-reduction techniques may water down course content, a study at Middlesex Community College (CT) has demonstrated that students experiencing such instruction continue to higher-level math courses more often than students in traditional courses. (JP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A