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Making Math Emotionally Satisfying
posted by: Melissa | April 26, 2017, 01:28 PM   

It’s no huge secret that many of our students continue to struggle with anxiety when it comes to math. Math is the one subject that many students feel they’re just not good at and are likely to view as something they can’t learn or is beyond their skill, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

A new article on KQED’s MindShift blog says the secret to helping students enjoy math isn’t trying to make it superficially fun through games or other quick fixes, but by helping students engage emotionally in math. In order to help students engage emotionally, the blog offers several suggestions.

First, be clear about why learning math matters, not by offering artificial reasons, but by drawing clear connections between mathematical problem solving and being able to think deeply and analytically. Next, make sure that math is grounded in real world applications. Again, the objective here is to move beyond the shallow and surface level, by offering rich, real world examples that tie in math to other subject areas and issues that already incite student interest. More real world grounding is suggested by also providing students with mathematical role models of people who have used math to solve real problems, such as Alan Turing or Nate Silver. Finally, the article suggests that teachers should be blunt about why students are anxious about math and use psychology to help students understand why their own brain is reacting the way that it is.

MindShift argues that using these strategies along with proven pedagogical strategies such as age appropriate lessons and reviewing old material periodically can help students conquer their fear over studying math. You can find more information and read the entire blog on MindShift’s site.

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