Hello! I’m Suzza and I’m the writer with the mathematical muse. Strange, right? So often we’re told that we’re either good at Math or English. For some reason pursuing both seems a bit out of the ordinary. I fell in love with mathematics as a kid but we are an unlikely pair.
I flunked fourth-grade mathematics. I assumed that I was bad at math. My math-anxious family couldn’t help. A frustrating experience for all. I used a simple trick to convert my numbers to letters. This allowed me to understand mathematical operations like multiplication.
I learned from this experience that my math ability was greater than my math anxiety.
Table of Contents
Mathematics in our Daily Lives
Math anxiety is real and it has a deep impact on how we go about our life. I know firsthand the frustration of things like being unable to make change. Or even adding up a simple column of numbers. I still struggle with these things as I’m solving calculus problems.
Mathematics is more than a tool. It can bring meaning to our complex lives. This is a reason why we should cultivate a sense of beauty around it. Even when it instills a fear of math inside of us.
Encouraging Math Confidence
Because I’ve experienced math stress, I know the pain that it brings. Sometimes even thinking about it is enough to cause us to wince. Yet, it is from this place of fear and anxiety that we can grow as individuals.
Beauty of Mathematics is about encouraging students and adults to re-think math. In telling stories, I will enlighten you about what mathematics has to offer.
What is Math Anxiety?
Math anxiety is also called math phobia or math stress. It is that feeling in the pit of your stomach when entering math class. It is the overwhelming dread you feel when doing your math homework. It is the utter doom of trying to pass a test.
It would be nice if we could adopt a positive perspective on our math abilities.
There is a lot we know about math anxiety from studies and it boils down to the following five points.
- Math anxiety is real and it doesn’t matter what age, gender, or background you have.
- It can hurt students’ mathematical performance, self-confidence, academic motivation, and well-being.
- The causes are complex and multidimensional. They could include a variety of things like past bad experiences with math as well as low self-esteem
- Overcoming math anxiety is possible. It requires a combination of intervention and strategies to cope.
- Research shows, a positive supportive classroom with effective teaching can mitigate math anxiety. A growth mindset sees challenges and mistakes as opportunities. This attitude is also helpful.
It is not too late to learn these techniques to improve our relationship with math.
How to Build Self-Confidence in Mathematics
Understanding Mistakes are a Normal Part of Learning
You should never feel afraid to make mistakes. I remember how I felt in my introductions to proofs course. Getting low grades on my tests. My teacher encouraged us to get help during her office hours. Giving us some extra points for correcting our mistakes. It is normal to struggle in your subjects. Every mistake brings you one step closer to understanding the material.
Seeking Help When Needed
Seeking help is not a weakness, it is a strength. It means you understand your limitations and strive to learn. Mathematics is a complex subject and you need help sometimes. Seek out a teacher, tutor, or friend that can give you more insight into the subject.
Positive Attitude Towards Mathematics
Get into the habit of no longer saying you “hate math” or that you’re “bad at math.” It is important to have a positive attitude toward mathematics. You can flip your point of view to see your mistakes as challenges and opportunities to grow as a person. Seek to find some beauty or personal meaning in equations and formulas.
Math anxiety, math phobia, and fear of math are real. I know what it is like to feel the way you do now. Until fifth grade, I didn’t understand mathematics. Almost convinced that the whole thing was a waste of time. I was Desperate to change things for the better. I found a way out by discovering something about mathematics that I could love.