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25

In regards to "math anxiety", the 1990 paper by Ray Hembree helped me out a lot. It's a large meta-study of about 150 papers and a total of 25,000 students. Summary of the results, as I wrote on my blog previously: Whole-group interventions are not effective (curricular changes, classroom pedagogy structure, in-class psychological treatments). The only ...


22

There are several possible explanations. Without much more information, it is impossible to give a clear-cut answer. Perhaps your student is able to "read" your unconcisious reactions very well, and you are telegraphing the solution. Some people just go blank in stressful situations, like an exam (you say it's not the case, but it might be anyway)....


19

There are a few strategies that are supported by experimental research which I will share here, but they all have to do with stereotype threat. I am sure there are other types of anxiety related to math which would not be helped by these strategies. First, the wikipedia article on stereotype threat is fairly comprehensive. It describes some studies that ...


13

If you want to get a sense for what great math education looks like in 2014, you're blessed with an abundance of options. Pick up the TERC Investigations curriculum, or the CME Project, or grab a copy of some of the NCTM journals. Or go check out some of the amazing work that educators are doing and sharing for free online. Shoot, go check out Christopher ...


10

I agree with the idea that different people might be anxious about mathematics for different reasons... Culturally, in the United States, we tend to look at capabilities in mathematics as determined by "ability" and from a "fixed" ability" perspective – some people can do math and others cannot. Other nations attribute capabilities ...


8

Certainly not a final answer. But to me, maybe the most important aspect is the behavior of the teacher. The way he or she understands mathematics and the beliefs that are hold affect the learning of the students - a triviality... But once you go on and read the classic by Stella Baruk (1971) Echec et maths, you get more than a glimpse on how math anxiety ...


7

I had a similar student, these 2 things helped. Take mock tests with different criteria, like a test where questions are easy but paper is too lengthy to complete in time or sometimes very few questions but too difficult to solve and you`ll be able to filter out the exact problem. Ask your student to explain concepts to you or take a theoretical test.


6

I was this student throughout school and University. Professors would comment that I was smart, that I knew the material, but I'd still do poorly on exams. I made careless mistakes: I would sometimes forget to finish questions half-way through, clearly make simple arithmetic errors and just otherwise not give the exam the attention it deserved. Studying was ...


6

When he solves some exercises beside me he does very well, so I was thinking why he failed the exam, and I couldn't find a reason. Also when I give him some homework he do some parts wrong, but when I just point them out without saying anything he knows what is wrong and how to correct it. This is the problem. Carelessness. I too have this problem a lot, I ...


6

For new mathematics education research, I keep suggesting Jo Boaler's research, but only because I read What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject and took the free online course that she gave last year on "How to Learn Mathematics" (a MOOC through StanfordX - it's open again soon but ...


6

It seems that the first step is to diagnose the problem. What, specifically, causes the fear or anxiety? Getting a history of the student's mathematical experience is a reasonable start. Helpful questions include courses the student has taken, what the student liked best or disliked most, what parts were easiest or hardest, and so forth. This often ...


6

When I posted this question over a year ago, I meant to post my own answer after giving others a bit of time to post. I apparently forgot. My students have had some success in decreasing their anxiety with books like Mind Over Math (Kogelman, Warren), Overcoming Math Anxiety (Tobias), and Managing the Mean Math Blues (Ooten). I also wanted something that ...


5

A while back I posted the related question How can we help students who are very anxious about math?, so that I could offer up a few answers of my own. My suggestions include a few good books: My students have had some success in decreasing their anxiety with books like Mind Over Math (Kogelman, Warren), Overcoming Math Anxiety (Tobias), and Managing the ...


5

I believe it is a combination of the following, among other things. The writings of Hung-Hsi Wu have plenty of examples of the gibberish and pseudo math that goes on in many math classrooms. This practically guarantees that only a tiny minority of students benefit from their "math" experiences in school. A huge share of elementary teachers, victims of ...


4

To my view, the most effective strategies deal with anxiety as a collective - and thus political and cultural - issue. The answers provided by adamblan and Mandy Jansen are quite to the point, in that regard, and what I'll add here is just a complement. Anxiety can be defined as overreaction to falsely perceived risk. Risk taking is socially divided, just ...


4

Sometimes our past experiences pile up, and create anxiety from the stories we tell ourselves about how bad we are at something, or how often we mess it up. One way to lessen anxiety is to do a guided visualization, telling ourselves more positive things. My students often say they blanked on a test, even though they felt like they really knew the material. ...


4

Maybe you could try doing homework with friends. I used to have pretty bad programming anxiety and it got a lot better when I coded with other people. The caveat is you don't want to do problem sets with friends who are much better at math than you, because then you will just feel discouraged when they get all the answers before you do.


3

Khan Academy has great problems for drill. I have often used it for careless students. Advantages are: there are no clues from you if it's wrong the computer will say so and he doesn't get credit for understanding, so he will learn to focus on accuracy he will have a chance to correct it which will reinforce his understanding and accuracy. he can do this ...


3

We are not computers and the human mind did not evolve to do math problems. We are much better at looking for the snake in the grass or recognizing our children's faces in a crowd than we are at solving for X (let alone proving epsilon delta). Our minds are actually stronger at speaking and hearing than they are at reading and writing. But even reading ...


2

It seems like you are on a good way already; recognizing and facing your problems are often the hardest parts. Keep at it, get all the help you can, and you should be good. I would not try to find a PhD with less math, you might damn yourself to a bad topic or thesis. It might help if you have a certain problem (in CS, maybe something NP complete?) that ...


2

•Have him create a short 10-question exam for you and/or for some younger students. (just to give him different perspective - from that of the test maker) Explain why some missed some questions and some missed others. •Give him the challenge of creating a math test by giving him the answers first and he has to create a question to get that answer. •Discuss ...


2

That same thing happened to me when I was in school. Even in University it still happened to me. Even now as a programmer I still see the same pattern happening to me. I was conscious of the problem, but had no solution. In fact, I don't think of it as a problem, but as an advantage (I'll discuss about this below). When I do maths exams, I like so much ...


1

I have had much of the same history and ended up as a math major with good grades. I very strongly recommend Schaum's outline series in any subject but especially mathematics. They have all the problems you will ever see. In time you will find any new problem will be a different version of one you have seen elsewhere. What you must do is keep going into ...


1

Another reason, I think, is how mathematics is typically graded. Do 20 problems, get red Xs through 7 of them, you earn a D. Every time a student exposes some misunderstanding, they are punished. This is backwards: students should be rewarded for showing that they do not understand something, because this gives them an opportunity to grow. Since ...


1

In my teaching years (34), many times, the anxious students would come up to me and say: "I don't understand anything." My work was not mainly to give them an answer, but of helping them find out exactly what they didn't understand so that they could 1) focus on what they don't understand and 2) use what they did understand to advance their work. Maybe you ...


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