Updated: Mar 17
By clicking on this post, it can be assumed that this is a question either you or someone you know asks yourselves. In this blog post, we address three CORE reasons why you struggle to score in this subject.
“Mathephobia” or Math Anxiety
Math Anxiety, referred to by some as “Mathephobia”, is explained by some experts to mean “the panic, helplessness, paralysis and mental disorganization that arises among some people when they are required to solve a mathematical problem.”
So, where does this stem from?
From the moment students enter formal schooling, math is one of the first subjects students encounter. This subject is where students learn whether or not they have gotten something “right” or “wrong”. This then generates a fear of looking “stupid”, with students who fail to excel from the start getting discouraged from their lack of success. In the long term, students, their peers and even some of their teachers begin to brand these students as not being “math-people”. This in turn reinforces negative feelings these students have towards the subject, discouraging them from finding the fun in the subject. In some cases students end up giving up on the subject altogether.
A weak foundation
Mathematics, as a whole, is heavily reliant on what we call sequential learning. This means that a student’s understanding of a topic is largely dependent on their understanding of previous concepts. This is the reason why students are first taught to understand basic concepts such as Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, before they are able to move on to more confusing concepts like Algebra.
A possible result from “Mathephobia”, students who give up on doing well in the subject at a very young age tend to struggle with more complicated concepts in the subject due to the lack of a strong foundation in the subject. This therefore translates into the inability to apply the right methods towards the solving of mathematical problems at a higher level.
What does this mean for students?
A weak foundation perpetuates a vicious cycle, with students finding themselves discouraged as a result of failure, and turning to memorisation as a means to an end instead of understanding why and how certain questions need to be solved using certain methods. This hence translates into a lack of adaptability in the subject, making it difficult for students to score when it comes to questions that are asked in a different manner and context.
“Practice makes Perfect”
While the phrase may be overused with regards to the subject and send your eyes rolling, there truly IS merit to the saying. Many students, as a culmination of both the reasons above, are often discouraged from doing practices as they are frequently met with failure. However, this lack of practice tends to then lead to the reinforcement of the inability to do well, hence further locking students into this cycle of negativity when it comes to mathematics as a subject.
Although practice is not the sole determinant of success, a study of more than 11,135 total participants shows that practice tends to improve performance of individuals, with an improvement of 4% among participants when tested in the context of education. Now, imagine the wonders both practice AND a strenghtened mathematical foundation can do for a student!
How we can help
Here at AcesMath!, we are committed to helping our students improve and find confidence in the subject.
Combatting “Mathephobia” requires patience and encouragement from those around us. This includes parents, students and most importantly, educators. Here at AcesMath! Our tutors are committed to providing lessons that not only encourage our students but also strengthen their belief in their abilities in the subject. This is done through creating an environment where we believe that there are no questions too stupid to answer and where everyone can grow together.
Similarly can be said for the creation of a stronger foundation. Here at AcesMath!, we care about helping our students understand instead of memorise. This can then help our students become adaptable when facing tough questions, by showing them how to break these questions down and tackle them with foundational skills.
Finally, our lessons provide a wide range of practice papers and topic practices. These practices aim to provide students with an accurate understanding of the difficulty levels they can expect in their exams. As tutors, we will also be there to guide them along the way, helping clarify any doubts and foundational issues, sending our students well on their way to success!
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