Lack of motivation to work in mathematics. Math anxiety is more than just being nervous about math. It is characterized by the feelings of panic, tension and powerlessness generated when doing mathematical calculations or even thinking about it (Ashcraft & Kirk, 200). Researchers believe that about 20 percent of the population suffers from it.
But having math anxiety doesn't mean a student isn't good at math. Even expert mathematicians, such as Laurent Schwartz and Maryam Mirzakhani, claimed to have suffered from it. Math anxiety isn't the result of performing poorly in math; rather, a student may be doing poorly in math because they feel anxious about it. Decades of research have shown that anxiety can affect many aspects important to learning, such as attention, memory, and processing speed.
Math anxiety can significantly hinder memory, a key neurodevelopmental function necessary for mathematics. This is because the brain devotes more energy to dealing with stress than it does to processing information, reducing the capacity of active working memory to perform mathematical activities. Based on findings from learning and instruction and research on the moderating and mediating variables of math anxiety,10,21, the following figure presents a framework for understanding math anxiety and its effects. They take fewer elective math courses, both in high school and college, than people with a low level of math anxiety.
According to research from the University of Cambridge, “many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when faced with a math problem. Anxiety and interest in mathematics were more important to students' professional decisions than their knowledge of mathematics, according to SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores. If you or your students scold or laugh at someone who responds poorly, this can cause or worsen their anxiety about mathematics. In elementary education, teachers have a particularly significant influence, as they transmit their own anxiety about mathematics to their students.
Correlations of r %3D−0.18 mean a shared variance between math anxiety and performance of only 3.24%; values of r %3D−0.47 mean a shared variance of 22.09%, representing a fairly large amount of shared variance. Assuring students that there is no such thing as a mathematician, or special people who are born with better math skills, will reduce their anxiety and help them see themselves as mathematicians. A study with 12-year-old children,69 and another with twin pairs aged 19 to 20 years,68 showed a moderate hereditary contribution to math anxiety, and environmental influences explained the rest of the variance. As shown, there are numerous possibilities to help people anxious about mathematics and reduce anxiety about mathematics.
Parents can help their children develop a positive self-concept and prevent the development of math anxiety, for example, by providing feedback or praise appropriate to their achievements in mathematics, maintaining realistic expectations about their children's success in mathematics, or by showing them how mathematics is used in a positive way, such as in sports, hobbies, home repairs, etc. But avoidance can be difficult to recognize, because some of our students anxious about mathematics have honed the ability to do too little math without drawing too much attention to themselves. From a very young age, there are many factors that can negatively influence children's mathematical outlook. Heterogeneous clustering benefits all students, as it gives them access to high-quality mathematics and to different ideas and perspectives.