Math anxiety has always been a challenge for educators and students alike and overcoming the obstacles that this anxiety creates often requires targeted and sustained support.
Unfortunately, this kind of support is particularly difficult to provide during the pandemic, when many classrooms have gone online and teachers have fewer resources than ever to help their students meet their learning objectives in mathematics.
While math anxiety is a widespread and complex phenomenon, experts argue that it is not insurmountable given that students have the following:
- A structured learning environment
- Access to resources
- Personalized help
- Encouragement and patience
The main danger of math anxiety is that it erodes confidence over time, and if not nipped in the bud, it can become a life-long problem. To that end, here are three strategies you can use to help students conquer their math anxiety, even while studying at home.
1. Use a Variety of Resources
Sometimes, math anxiety is simply caused by a disconnect between students and the curriculum. Not all students learn the same way, and what works for some doesn’t work for others — especially with something abstract like math.
Experimenting with different learning materials and instruction styles can be all it takes to get your child to grasp the contours of previously baffling concepts like geometry or algebra.
2. Hire a Local Math Tutor
Because math anxiety is so hard to tackle without help, one way to provide students with extra support is by hiring a math tutor with experience and pedagogical knowledge. Tutors can take children over their lessons step-by-step, moving at a pace that is appropriate and helping kids master easy problems before taking on more difficult concepts.
It is important that your tutor understand the particular math curriculum your child is learning, so if you are looking for tutoring services in Calgary, hiring local tutors in Calgary who are versed in the course material your school board is using.
Many tutoring services have started providing online lessons and learning pods to keep learning safe during the pandemic, so regardless of the limitations you are facing, tutors can adapt to ensure continuous support is available.
3.Go Back to the Fundamentals
To understand more complex math problems, you need to have a firm grasp of the basics. Math anxiety often arises when children are asked to make a leap from concepts that are tangible to ones that are more abstract. If a student is struggling with new equations, for example, a good math tutor will go back to the material they do understand to see where the disconnect is happening.
This is helpful not only in identifying the breakdown, but also because it reminds students of what they already know, and helps re-establish some confidence.
Remote learning is a challenge for parents and children alike, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you find that kids are struggling to stay abreast in difficult subjects like math.
If you have a student who is suffering from math anxiety and are not sure how to help, a tutor who can introduce new materials, a new perspective, and a sense of how math learning works might be the perfect solution.