By: Shahida Salma Bt Yunus D20081033199
What is Mathematics Anxiety ?
Mathematics anxiety has been defined as feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in a wide variety of ordinary life and academic situations. It can cause someone to forget and lose self-confidence. People with mathematics anxiety are incapable of doing activities and classes that involve mathematics. Maybe some people that have this mathematics anxiety are also has fear towards mathematics and what we call mathematics phobia. It is also just an emotional feelings rather than intellectual problem thinking and also interfere with person ability to learn mathematics and give impact in intellectual problem. Hence when this people suffered from the mathematics anxiety, it will make them to develop hatred towards mathematics and it will cause them not have feelings to study mathematics although actually mathematics is the fun subject to learn. In my opinion mathematics anxiety is the disease that all people have when involved mathematics calculation although we do not realize it, but this disease is something that we will overcome when we try to handle it. But if we take is slightly it will become worse to people that have it and it will develop hatred.
Why does it happen ?
Burton, 1979 says that signs on people that have mathematics anxiety are like sweating palms, queasy stomach, panic, fear, clenched fists, cold sweat, helplessness, tension, distress, dry mouth, shame and inability to cope and many more just like other phobia. Both mental and physical these are the feeling of people that have it when they face the mathematical problem or calculations. This mathematics anxiety happen when student develop an emotional and intellectual block towards the learning of mathematics in the course of school years. In this case the attitude of students is the main factor why this mathematics anxiety occurs. This attitude such as how they look the question of mathematics and when to do the calculation. Their attitude became worsen when it involved mathematics, it is like this when it happened and after that it will cause fearer towards mathematics. In my opinion, it also happen when people can’t develop any feeling towards mathematics, when people ignore the basic mathematics concept such as basic calculation that involved plus, mines and so on it can show that people are too dependent and it will lead to hatred in mathematics.
Who has it ?
Based on this book a study by Bets (1978) suggest that mathematics anxiety is a problem for many college students, including even those in advanced mathematics classes, whose majors require an extensive background in mathematics and in this book also it state that many student in school that have this phobia what we call mathematics anxiety. Teacher trainee that not take mathematics as her/his major also suffers from this disease. As what I know based on my experienced, this mathematics anxiety is haunted many people not only school students but every level of society although the old people also have experience from mathematics anxiety. Because mathematics is the basic way of life, you need calculations even you went to market or go to shopping. Hence I can say mathematics is very important in our live, than when people can do even the simple calculation they will feel fear towards that and it’s the symptom of mathematics anxiety or what people call mathophobia.
When does it occur ?
In the case of primary school teacher, this mathematics anxiety possibly occur when the lack of a firm foundation in mathematics and also wit nature of the subject itself. It maybe occur when the people can’t cope up with the subject itself and some people also they don’t try to learn this subject but just by hearing others say that mathematics is difficult to learn they just push it away from their live. From there the anxiety symptom will come out one by o ne and at the last, slowly they will seed hatred towards mathematics in their life. Based on my experience also I have one friend that really hate mathematics. She always said mathematics is difficult to learning, can’t memorize the formula and etc. When we do the exercise she will copy it from others and not try to learn it. It also occurred when student don’t understand what their teacher explain, sometimes although the problem is small but it will lead to the other problem. The problems here is teacher, when she/he can’t teach well so don’t expect that student will understand the concept and they also can’t answer the question involving the mathematics. On the other hand, it also occur when the parents don’t have interest with mathematics and coincidently it will be pass to their children because they always have been tell that mathematics do not important. Many more reasons why it occur is because teacher personality and their style of teaching, public examinations and their effect if student can’t get A’s in mathematics, the self factor such as personality and perception. Other than that the most important why that’s occur because the feelings of themselves such as worries, difficult to learn, parental expectations and also their peer influences and also why they have to learn mathematics it’s what they learn in school will been using in real life, that is question that always students ask in their minds but do not let it out so that we can solve it.
Who and What create it ?
In my opinion what can I say who and what create this mathematics anxiety are the people itself. If they say that they dislike mathematics so what others can do. We just can try to recover this phobia but if they can’t try to face it the efforts that we make will just be waste. Furthermore with the other factors such as friend, family, teacher and the mathematics myths and misconception will lead to the worst effect when combined together this factors. That’s why people will be coincidently born with the hatred towards mathematics.
How do you reduce it ?
Many efforts are made to reduce this phobia that famous among students and what we call it as mathematics anxiety. It is very importance to dealing with this problem mathematics anxiety, the way that we can reduce it is do the mathematic clinic. This mathematics clinic we will place one doctor at a few schools to give the best consultancy to student and hear their opinion about mathematics. By that we can heal this phobia and indirectly make them confident with themselves. Other than that the program like math without fear can be develop and the authorities also must take part. If there have an involving from an authorized the program will be success more than just we do it, they can do campaign and announce it at the mass media. Indirectly it will influence the old people and also children that have not been to school. Furthermore teacher at school must take the courses such as mathematics anxiety or how to handle phobia towards math among student. Hence by that they can improve their teaching method and have more skill to handle the anxiety among students. To reduce this mathematics anxiety many side and people must involve, not just school or teacher but all people in this country if we want to remove it or reduce. Time will heal everything with effort that we have put.
How do you eliminate it ?
I think it is so difficult to eliminate, we can reduce it but can’t totally eliminate it. It’s because this mathematics anxiety or mathophobia are involved person feelings. It so difficult to remove someone feelings but we can reduce it and make them not feared to learn mathematics. This subject to me is so beautiful and fun, then I hoped other people also can have the same taught and share the same feelings with me and not hatred towards this beautiful subject.