How To Help Your Child Beat A Maths Phobia
If the night before a Maths exam is a tense and anxious time at your house, it is time to change that. While children from many Asian countries are known for being good at Mathematics, those who struggle with the subject often feel stuck, helpless and unable to wrap their head around basic concepts. Additionally, parents and teachers often struggle for ways to resolve this fear in the students which tends to set in early in school. But it is possible to transform this anxiety towards the subject. There are many effective tools using which the fear of mathematics can be resolved and an enthusiastic engagement with the subject brought about.
Parents often comment openly about their lack of prowess in Mathematics. Though there isn’t any perceived societal backlash to this Maths phobia, what happens is that this attitude gets passed on to the child. The attitude towards the subject by the adults around the child heavily influence the perception of it in the mind of the child. A research study by the University of Chicago has found that children of parents who have maths anxiety are more likely to be anxious about maths themselves and learn less mathematics over the span of the school year. Similarly, teachers who display a negative attitude towards maths tend to influence students to have fear around the subject. This is one of the most important factors to keep in mind while helping your child.
Introduce the subject into daily life. While reading and writing is seen as essential and promoted early on in childhood with time for writing and bedtime reading included in a child’s schedule, Mathematics is seldom a part of daily life. Take a page out of Christopher Danielson’s book, who writes the blog talkingmathwithkids.com. Whether it is grocery shopping with his kids or debating what time they can go to bed, he finds a way to introduce Maths into these everyday interactions. Whatever activity a child is doing, and whatever grade they are in, there usually is a Maths problem in there that can be discussed.
Another area of focus for Maths tends to be memorisation of rules and tables. While these are important and necessary, the understanding of how the rule works is even better. Promoting logical thinking and conceptual understanding helps the child become comfortable with the subject and deepen his knowledge. This imparts the child with what is known as fluency in Maths— being able to think critically, make estimations and assess whether the result is right or not. To help foster this kind of thinking in your child, use computer games, board games, mobile apps and other creative tools.
If you’re worried about having the right answer for your child for every Math question, keep aside that thought. Fostering this type of thinking in your child, the ability to see relationships with numbers and shapes need not be about providing answers. It can be about asking the right questions. Leave out your assumptions about the subject and your experience while in school and look at the subject with completely fresh eyes. It will help connect your child in a positive manner to Maths.
Getting good at Maths requires a lot of practice. So don’t chastise your child if he makes mistakes because it is with hours of practice, making mistakes and finding solutions that your child will get comfortable with the subject. It is not a subject that can be learned by looking at someone else solving a problem nor is it one that can be learned by memorising formulae. Expertise comes from hours of practice and applying the concepts, formula and rules that have been learned.
Many students and even parents mistakenly assume that being good at Maths is an inherited or innate trait. This is not true. With dedicated effort, a willingness to make mistakes to learn and by staying open to the subject, Maths can become a subject that your child enjoys and excels at. Reassuring your child and encouraging him to engage deeper with concepts he finds challenging is the only way to get results.
Maths need not be the subject that nightmares are made of. Whether it is about using creative methods to teach challenging concepts or providing support and encouragement, SchoolPage’s educators are passionate about spreading a love for Maths to their students. With focused academic support that is personalised to your child’s needs, it is a great way to ensure stellar results. SchoolPage will show your child that he can be friends with numbers and that they are nothing to be afraid of.
Drop us a line or give us a call for a demo class and we would love to help your child get started.