Presentation on theme: "William Devine, MA, LPC MathFour.com"— Presentation transcript:
1 William Devine, MA, LPC MathFour.com Learned Math Phobia: The impact on children of parents' and educators' attitude towards mathematicsWilliam Devine, MA, LPCMathFour.com
2 Math Anxiety - What is it? "Math anxiety is commonly defined as a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that interferes with math performance.” (Ashcraft, 2002)Shown to have a significant positive correlation with academic and test anxiety
3 DSM-V (proposed) Dyscalculia “Difficulties in production or comprehension of quantities, numerical symbols, or basic arithmetic operations that are not consistent with the person's chronological age, educational opportunities, or intellectual abilities.”“…significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require these numerical skills.”
4 Math Anxiety (cont’d) Negative impact Taxes working memory Acts as a secondary taskMath aversive => avoid mathFear of wrong answer => decreased attempts => learning is stalledFewer upper level math classes takenIn college, leads to the eventual limitation of job and career possibilitiesCycle is perpetuatedMom, Dad, teachers pass it onMore difficult to focusMakes students want to avoid engaging in mathAvoid taking classes when they don’t have toEspecially concerning in college where it limits career possibilitiesThey graduate, have children or become teachers, the cycle continues
5 Math Anxiety (cont’d) Negative Impact (cont’d) "To protect self-worth, students who are uncertain about their ability to achieve competitively may develop strategies that deflect attention from their ability.” (Turner et. al., 2002)“'My body language said I can’t do it’, 'my hands sweat’, 'I wanted to crawl under the desk’, 'I felt frustrated’, 'sometimes I just refused to attempt a new concept'.” (Allen, 2010)To illustrateThe “oh no, please don’t call on me” syndromeActing out, class clownDon’t call on me don’t call on me don’t call on me.And some self reported symptoms
6 Sources of Math Anxiety Fear of others’ reactionsscolding (teacher)punishment or disappointment (parents)embarrassment (peers)Fear of failuremaking a mistake or doing it differently is NOT okPressure of performanceAbilities seen as natural, not necessarily “learnable”Implication of poor aptitudeImplication of inabilitiesWhere does it come from?Reaction of others when we do a math problem differently or make a mistake while tryingThe pressure kids get to perform well, never mind focusing on the learning process to get them there
7 Sources of Math Anxiety "A substantial portion of the adult population seems nervous or reluctant to pursue mathematical activity, often feeling that they will simply not be able to do it.” (Stodolsky, 1985)Chicken or the egg?
8 Social and Interactive Influences Society - you’re either good at math, or you’re not.Parents - Go ask your father, I was never any good at that stuff.Teachers - No, Billy, that’s not the way we do it.“Math instruction dominantly assumes only one way to learn: teacher presentation followed by practice.” (Stodolsky, 1985)The student - I’m trying really hard, why does she get mad at me?Message from Society: You can’t do anything about it. Don’t even try.From Parents: This is hard and I can’t do it. The kid thinks they can’t do it either.The attitude from the teacher stifles self-confidence and creativity.Kid feels: Confusion, feeling unsafe to explore, avoidance.
9 Far Reaching Impact"High levels appeared in remedial mathematics and declined with more advanced study. Mathematics and science majors were predictably low in the construct. The highest levels occurred for students preparing to teach in elementary school.” (Hembree, 1990)“This issue is of major concern to our economy, to a child’s future employment and their success in higher education.” “Creating a country of mathophobes does not bode well for us in the uncertain global economy of the future.” (Geist, 2010)20 years ago, a study showed that out of a number of college majors including upper level science and math majors, “The highest levels occurred for students preparing to teach in elementary school.”Head scratcher?The second speaks for itself.
10 WHAT to Change Negative to Positive Influences It’s ok to be wrong Talking about math early onIt’s all around us, not just in the classroomExpressing the positiveAwareness of parent and teacher effectsPromoting creativity and autonomy in children’s exploration of math"The words of the interviewees emphasized the fact that a caring teacher in a supportive environment who uses multiple teaching strategies to address the needs of all students is the best remedy for reducing math anxiety.” (Tchibozo, 2010)Things that we want to change, specifically, to help math anxiety are the negative influencesREAD OFF SOME POINTS
11 HOW to Change Bringing together knowledge and mainstream support Of what to do informed by experience AND the researchSupportFrom those in positions to spread informed awarenessAwarenessTo court AND inform the publicSo what can we do about it?
12 How to Change (cont’d) Knowledge The use of experience AND research in informing the direction of improving numeracyAddressing math anxiety as a part of thisResearch on:working memoryscaffoldingsupportive learning environmentsIn the schoolAt homeWith other childrenmotivation and autonomyit’s already thereUse experience AND researchThere is existing research on all of these
13 How to Change (cont’d) Awareness Numeracy campaign What would an effective one look like?It’s already started… kind ofTalk of need for improvement in STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)How do we use the momentum of STEM movement to push a community-assisting agenda regarding math anxiety?STEM advocates are wanting more focus on math and sciences
14 Other Change Topics Training for teachers Tap the motivation Instructional vs. Behavioral/motivational supportTap the motivationUse the momentum of the child’s interestHelp working memory“Being able to increase, at virtually no cost, children’s ability to retain and manipulate information therefore offers promising prospects for application in education.” (Autin, 2012)Offering truly instructional texts to teachersSupporting changes conducive to creating an environment where these things can happen.
15 Works CitedAshcraft, M. H., (2002). Math anxiety, personal, educational, cognitive consequences. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(5),Autin, F., & Croizet, J.-C. (2012, March 5). Improving Working Memory Efficiency by Reframing Metacognitive Interpretation of Task Difficulty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.Geist, E. (2010). The Anti-Anxiety Curriculum: Combating Math Anxiety in the Classroom. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37(1),Hembree, R. (1990). The nature, effects, and relief of mathematics anxiety. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 21,Stodolsky, S. S. (1985). Telling Math: Origins of Math Aversion and Anxiety. Educational Psychologist, 20(3),Tchibozo, G., ed. (2010), Proceedings of the 2nd Paris International Conference on Education, Economy and Society, Vol. 1, Strasbourg (France): AnalytricsTurner, J.C., et.al. (2002). The Classroom Environment and Students’ Reports of Avoidance Strategies in Mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology 94(1),