Many times throughout my career, students have told me, “I’m not good at math.” For some of these children, math didn’t come easily and required a great deal of effort. For others, they were solid math students who lacked confidence in their abilities.
While it has been commonly held that math anxiety doesn’t begin until 6th grade, new research has shown that children in first grade have reported symptoms. Dr. Rose Vukovic and Rachel Harari, experts in the field of education, wrote Anxiety Attack: Conquering the Fear of Math, describing this phenomenon and suggested ways to address math anxiety.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” We need our children to think they can. To believe they can. To experience math success so they know they can.
We need to teach our math-anxious children that while math skills may not come to them easily and success in math might require hard work, they CAN do it. As in other academic subjects, different learning styles require different strategies and it is important to find the strategies that work best for each child, setting our children up for math achievement. Before our children define themselves as “bad in math,” we must give them the opportunity to learn, to achieve, to succeed.