Mathematics is seen as a troublesome subject by many students in schools or colleges especially due to the abstract nature of the subject.
Such an abstraction makes it exceptionally difficult for students to connect the subject with their real life and hence, most of them study math just for the sake of it.
Now that's a problem. Unless we try our best to turn that problem into a part of the solution, the math phobia will continue to exist. Anyway, here are a few proven tried and tested ways to curb the math phobia in kids. Have a look.
1. The first and the foremost thing to do is to build up confidence in the student
Students nursing a fear of mathematics start with zero confidence, especially when something related to the very same subject crops up from nowhere.
You, as a teacher have to bring it to a check. The first step to do that is to build self-confidence in the student. You can use several examples from your very own daily life for this purpose of yours.
You can use coins (even kindergarten students know them well) to teach counting to primary school students. Or you can use the concept of milestones for teaching distance, speed and time to middle class students. The point is you’ll have to try your best to make them connect with mathematics.
And once you are able to do that, you’ll see the confidence building up for sure.
2. Start with the very basics
Most kids nursing some sort of a phobia toward mathematics don’t have a firm mathematical base.
So you just can’t start with the basics of algebra first (even if s/he’s in middle school) and expect him/her to comprehend everything in the blink of an eye. Remember, his/her math base is a mess; so that’s where you need to start first if you really want him/her to improve over time.
Start with basic skills such as basic arithmetic operations, fractions, unitary methods, ratios, percentage, etc. and gradually go up to more complex issues. Yes, time can be an issue, but this is the only solution capable of benefiting him/her in the long run. Are you up for it?
3. Use a methodical approach
Do not expect your student to do a whole lot of math in a short time. Remember, s/he has a fear of the subject and hence, you’ll have to handle the situation tactfully. You just can’t ask him/her to practice an entire chapter a day; can you?
A gradual step-by-step approach is what’s needed in such situations. And remember no shortcuts; no step jumps and no verbal calculations.
If your student wants to do the rough work of additions/subtractions on the same page, allow him/her to do that, no matter what his/her grade is. You need results and this can get you that.
4. Make your student believe that s/he CAN
Most students nursing the fear of math have this belief that they are the only ones in the world who can’t do math because of mental health issues.
Make your student believe that s/he definitely is not. Plenty of students had been in his/her place and plenty of them have recovered well over time. And also express your confidence in front of him that you believe that s/he WILL improve over time.
Such positivity might just bring out the best out of him/her which, in turn can benefit him/her more in the foreseeable future.
5. Last but not the least, your attitude COUNTS
A LOT! Your attitude counts a lot.
If you show your frustration in front of your kid for any sorts of mistake on his/her end, it may result in a disaster. Your student’s going to lose every bit of self-confidence that s/he had gained in the past few weeks.
So control your emotions in front of your student especially during the time of your lessons. Yes, it may be tiresome at times but remember, what you are doing is something that can really make a difference in the world. Now that’s something noble indeed.
So that’s it then. Hope you found the article handy for your teaching or tutoring purposes. With that, we’ll bring this to an end for now. Hope you had a good read.