Eric.ed.gov – Math Anxiety: Can Teachers Help Students Reduce It? Ask the Cognitive Scientist

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How does the mind work–and especially how does it learn? Teacher’s instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct. Such knowledge often serves teachers well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on? Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field of researchers from psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, and anthropology who seek to understand the mind. In this regular “American Educator” column, we consider findings from this field that are strong and clear enough to merit classroom application. This month’s issue discusses math anxiety. Math anxiety is not limited to a minority of individuals nor to one country. International comparisons of high school students show that some students in every country are anxious about math. Is is perhaps not surprising that there is an inverse relationship between anxiety and efficacy: countries where students are less proficient in math (as measured by the Program for International Student Assessment) tend to have higher levels of math anxiety. Topics discussed in this month’s column include: when and how math anxiety emerges; which students tend to be most susceptible to math anxiety; social influences that may impact math anxiety; and what teachers can do to remediate math anxiety.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som lektor hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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