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Cassandra Lee

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As a pre-service teacher I have come to realise that I am not confident in my mathematic abilities. I am concerned that my lack of confidence will have a negative affect on my future students. 2 Is this mathematics anxiety

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Teachers who have mathematics anxiety need to confront and control their negative feelings, fears, and insecurities, to avoid unintentionally passing on these negative attributes to their students. Whyte & Anthony, 2012; Wood, 1988; Gresham,

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Self-efficacy is one’s own belief in their capacity to achieve the desired result. As one ages math anxiety tends to increase and conversely math self-efficacy becomes diminished. Lee, 2009; Jameson & Fusco,

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“A crucial component of the learning environment is the emotional and affective feelings that students bring into the classroom regarding a specific subject area.” Taylor & Fraser, 2013, p. 299

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Fear and anxiety about doing math, regardless of capability, can impede mathematical achievement. Beilock, Gunderson, Ramirez, & Levine,

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Mathematics anxiety has been described as an, “I can’t syndrome, a feeling of uncertainty, of not being able to do well in mathematics or with numbers.” Gresham, 2007, p.182 7

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“Mathematics anxiety is a complex and elusive quantity that is difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. It is unclear whether it is possible to separate the ideas of general anxiety, mathematics anxiety and test anxiety in a meaningful way.” Wood, 1988, p.12 8

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The Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale (AMAS) Hopko, et al., 2003

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Over the last 40 years the majority of research has concluded that Mathematics Anxiety is a factual, subject specific anxiety that can have lasting life-long consequences. Hembree, 1990; Ashcraft & Kirk,

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12 “Mathematics anxiety involves 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.” Richardson & Suinn, 1972, p.551

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Tobias and Weissbrod (1980) defined math anxiety as “the panic, helplessness, paralysis, and mental disorganisation that arises among some people when they are required to solve a mathematical problem.” Witt, 2012, p

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Feeling queasy Sweaty Increased heart rate Feeling lightheaded Tension Shaky Negative self-affirmations Feelings of panic, fear, worry, apprehension, and/or helplessness Feelings of failure Disorganised thoughts and failure to recall information Maloney & Beilock, 2012

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Negative classroom milieus Negative teacher experience Negative parental or peer influences Low self-esteem Low confidence Low intelligence Low cognitive ability Aarnos & Perkkila, 2012

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“…ensure that all students have opportunities to develop mathematical proficiency that includes a positive mathematical disposition. As maths anxiety is a learned condition, one hopes it can be unlearned.” Whyte & Anthony, 2012

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Students studying Education have the highest level of mathematics anxiety than students undertaking any other degree. Bekdemir, 2010; Swars, et al.,

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If pre-service teachers have math anxiety, the potential to become teachers with a lack of confidence in their math capabilities is high. Which may lead to a negative attitude toward math that can be transferred to their students. Creating a perpetual cycle of mathematics anxiety. Bekdemir, 2010

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“Addressing anxiety and self-esteem of children, and improving their confidence and related attitudes to math are crucial.” Finlayson, 2014, p

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“Many researchers agree that a key element in mathematics anxiety is the teacher in the classroom.” Taylor & Fraser, 2013, p

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Develop strong skills and a positive attitude Relate math to real life Encourage critical thinking Encourage active learning Accommodate students’ varied learning styles Place less emphasis on correct answers and computational speed Organise students into cooperative learning groups Provide support and encouragement Avoid putting students in embarrassing situations Never use math as a punishment Use malipulatives Use technology Dispel misconceptions Use a variety of assessments Prepare students for high-stakes testing sessions Blazer, 2011, pp

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Mathematics Anxiety is an important issue for teachers to consider when teaching math. Teachers need to consider their own attitude toward mathematics and how they can instil positive dispositions toward math in their students.

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Aarnos, E., & Perkkila, P. (2012). Early signs of mathematics anxiety? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, Ashcraft, M., & Kirk, E. (2001). The relationships among working memory, math anxiety, and performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 130(2), Beilock, S., Gunderson, E., Ramirez, G., & Levine, S. (2010). Female teachers’ math anxiety affects girls’ math achievement. PNAS, 107(5), Bekdemir, M. (2010). The pre-service teachers’ mathematics anxiety related to depth of negative experiences in mathematics classroom while they were students. Education Studies in Mathematics, 75(3), Blazer, C. (2011). Strategies for reducing math anxiety. Retrieved from Information Capsule: Research Services website: Finlayson, M. (2014). Addressing math anxiety in the classroom. Improving Schools, 17(1), Gresham, G. (2007). A study of mathematics anxiety in pre-service teachers. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(2), Hembree, R. (1990). The nature, effects, and relief of mathematics anxiety. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 21(1), Hopko, D., Mahadevan, R., Bare, R., & Hunt, M. (2003). The abbreviated math anxiety scale (AMAS): Construction, validity, and reliability. Assessment, 10(2),

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Jameson, M., & Fusco, B. (2014). Math anxiety, math-self-concept, and math self- efficacy in adult learners compared to traditional undergraduate students. Adult Education Quarterly, Lee, J. (2009). Universals and specifics of math self-concept, math self-efficacy, and math anxiety across 41 PISA 2003 participating countries. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(3), Maloney, E., & Beilock, S. (2012). Math anxiety: Who has it, why it develops, and how to guard against it. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(8), Richardson, F., & Suinn, R. (1972). The mathematics anxiety rating scale: Psychometric data. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 19(6), Swars, S., Daane, C., & Giesen, J. (2006). Mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy: What is the relationship in elementary preservice teachers? School Science and Mathematics, 106(7), Taylor, B., & Fraser, B. (2013). Relationships between learning environment and mathematics anxiety. Learning Environment Research, 16(2), Whyte, J., & Anthony, G. (2012). Maths anxiety: The fear factor in the mathematics classroom. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, 9(1), Witt, M. (2012). The impact of mathematics anxiety on primary school children’s working memory. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 8(2), Wood, E. (1988). Math anxiety and elementary teachers: What does research tell us? For the Learning of Mathematics, 8(1), 8-13.

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