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What is mathematics anxiety?

Mathematics Anxiety or mathematic phobia is a part of fear about something related with mathematics. Mathematics Anxiety is defined as feeling of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in a wide variety ordinary life and academic situations. It also means makes a large number of students’ minds go blank momentarily even the it is the simple questions and also mean the long-range effects and behavioral indicators of the syndrome. The people who suffer from mathematics anxiety is avoid to do the mathematical activity for example lunch with friend and have to figure out everyone’s part of the bill, cannot calculate the simple math with mind, and always avoid the activities or other classes that may involved mathematics. It also make the people forget, nervous and lose selfconfidence. They are also have a few signs for example sweating palms, queasy stomach, panic, fear, clenched, fists, cold sweat, helplessness, tension, distress, dry mouth, shame and an inability to cope and so on. Mathematics anxiety always have two aspects are state anxiety and A-Trait. State anxiety provoked by a situation for example as a student undertaking a mathematics assessment which have serious implication for their educational or vocational future whenever A-Trait is deeply entrenched in the student’s disposition as a result of previous experiences and likely to manifest itself in the face of kind of mathematical challenge. Actually, mathematics anxiety is not close to the intellectual problem but is more than the emotional and is about the feeling of the people who suffer because of it. However, it interferes with a person’s ability to learn mathematics and therefore the results in an intellectual problems


Why does it happened ? So many factors cause this phenomena occur. But I will states some of that and try to

summarize the factors that I found from this book. The some factors cause the mathematics anxiety are teacher personality and their style of teaching, public examinations and their effect, affective domain- self factor, such as personality, perception, feeling, worries, difficulties (memory, innate disability), parental expectation- their aspiration and standards, peer group influence and relevance- the usage of mathematics in everyday life. For the factor of parental expectation- their aspiration and standards make the student feel very pressure when the parental or the family always push up them to get the good results for every test. Some of the family always constantly reminding their children the importance of mathematics and want them to have high grades for mathematics and this creates a tremendous amount of pressure on them. It is happened because, the parental only want them to get the best for this subject but they parents do not plays an important role in developing the students interest and confidence in the subject. So this factor contributing to the anxiety because too high expectation without any practical help avoidance toward the subject. The second factors is teacher personality and their style of teaching. Most of the teacher only like or love the student who can get excellent result. But in the reality, most of the student are average. So they need the guidance from the teacher. But this is not happened to school today. Most of the teacher will ridiculing student if they ask some questions, maybe the teacher think that the question is not logic. The teacher also always blame the students if they do not understand the lesson. So, it is create a barrier between teacher and students relationship. The teacher also not showing interest in their students. When this happened the student tented to be disappointed and echoed their frustrations. This was felt especially if their teacher were too preoccupied just teaching from the front and were not all concerned with the students needs. The third factors is public examinations and their effect. The public examination is constitute as yardstick against which to measure their ability in mathematics, since this was also the general perception of teacher and parents, this belief was reinforced. If students get A of mathematics, you are great but if not you are nothing. So it make the people fear and create the anxiety.


Who has this mathematics anxiety problems?

Mathematics anxiety occur for both sex are male or female. But is not stereotype that female are less capable in mathematic than males. It is because the female have more tendency to tell or report their felling more than male. Mathematic anxiety always occur to students, teacher and especially trainee teacher. For students, it always occur to the secondary student, and for teacher it always occur to the primary teacher because the lack of a firm foundation in mathematics, coupled with the nature of the subject itself. For the teacher still in-service, they are also reveals to exhibit mathematics anxiety level were more likely to be female, more likely to have a lower attitude toward mathematics, less likely to have performed well in mathematics course, more likely to have completed fewer mathematics courses, more likely to have chosen to teach in the lower grades and less likely to have felt competent in teaching mathematics. For teacher trainee also they have the mathematical anxiety problems. From they are experienced they have this problems when they are transfer from primary school to secondary school and from lower secondary to upper secondary. Most of them blamed themselves because they start downfall in mathematics. So when they are go to school, they will give the same experience to their student.


When does it occur?

Mathematics anxiety arises from a climate in which negative attitude and anxiety transmitted from adults to children. The teachers attitude and enthusiasm toward a subject had greater impact on student attitude. Actually when a teacher have mathematic anxiety, he or she will transfer or transmit the anxiety to their students because the teacher always meet the student and most of the time they always together. Besides that, the parental also can transfer the anxiety to their children. It is because if the parents have negative attitude to the mathematics they are reinforce their children to have the same things. Mathematics anxiety also was develop by someone or some person during early years of schooling and a clear understanding of mathematic anxiety. It always happened when someone transfer from primary school to secondary school but it most happened when they are transfer from lower secondary to the upper secondary. Many people blamed themselves for the start of their downfall in mathematics. This anxiety occur when the students fear of asking for help from the teacher, teacher blaming students for not understanding, teacher ridiculing students, teachers’ strictness and fierceness, use of threats and force by teacher, teacher not showing interest in their student and a teaching style which emphasizes the transfer of information and routines’ with attention to the little attention to the learning of the individual. For example sometimes, when the teachers’ strictness and fierceness, student fell very nervous to attend the mathematics class because the teacher must scold them if they make mistake. So from here the student will get the negative feeling toward mathematics. It appear that there is very strong association between the students’ feeling toward teacher and subject. The teacher attitude to the learners affects the way the learners respond to the subject. The attitude of teacher themselves towards mathematics have an influence on their pupil’s attitude and also an influence on the style and methods that they will adopt in imparting the knowledge and skill of mathematics.


Who and what created it?

The learning without understanding and teacher are create this anxiety to students. Most of the time, whenever something that is taught in a classroom does not have any bearing or relationship with students’ every usage, it does not take long for the student to deny its relevance. Since many students perceived mathematics as merely only number, symbols, calculations and solving abstract the mathematical problems, which do not make much sense in their everyday life, they were unable to appreciate its usage. They perceived it as

something irrelevant, tedious and performing it is just a mere chore. Then, the students just want to pass the exam, so they will remember every single thing about formula and steps that they have learn by heart will sooner or later become a burden to most students. They learn without understanding and become fear and nervous. mathematics. One more about create the mathematics anxiety is learning style. Many students dissatisfaction when the teacher were going too fast. It is because they still do not understand the concept but the teacher go on with another concept. Day by day, the student will bored and do not want to involved in mathematics because they do not understand about the earlier concept, so their basic is not strong to them continue to the next lesson. In this process it creates a dislike for the subject and an anxiety by itself. The neglect of the individual personality which often occurs in tradisional learning situations often leads to feelings of frustration, discouragement, and general mathematics avoidance. This created the anxiety of


How do you reduce it?

To reduce the mathematic anxiety, I will suggest three solutions and summarize it from the book that I have read. Maybe is not the best solution but at least it can help the pupils and the teacher or to reduce the number of student and teacher who has the mathematic anxiety. First, we must enhancing the awareness of mathematics anxiety among teacher and especially teacher trainees. This matter should not overlook because the teacher’s attitude is a potent force in the classroom and their attitudes and their enthusiasm toward a subject have a great impact on students’ attitudes. Second, must be teacher or the trainees teacher in Malaysia aware of the existence the mathematics anxiety. It might be a starting point for them to help their students overcome their mathematics anxiety while addressing their own mathematics anxiety at the same time. It can help teacher if the teacher known the sign about the mathematic anxiety very well. It is importance because when the trainees teacher know about the mathematics anxiety they will learn how to avoid the mathematics anxiety in their class. Besides that, they also can improved or to know them self very well whether they have the mathematics anxiety or not. Maybe teacher or trainees teacher do not realize they have the mathematics anxiety. So when they look their student in class, how the student feel they will remember what they felt. Thirdly, we must try to discuss or a contemplation of the events in our past that have formed the basis for our felling about and attitude towards mathematics today should help focus our felling. Felling and attitudes are a part of what we are and we should recognize them and try to identify their origin. With that, we are able to constructive something to help them. And the last one is avoid the fear because fear can make our lives leaves us less able to function at our best. It is impossible to avoid the mathematics activity in daily life because the mathematics is used in many things. So anxiety about mathematics must be addressed.


How do you eliminate it?

To reduce the mathematic anxiety, I will suggest some solution, but maybe is a not the best solution to avoid mathematics anxiety At least it can help some people out from mathematics anxiety. The solution are create a positive, supportive classroom atmosphere, stress understanding the thought process, Dispel the math mind myth, provide the new positive math experience, use the concrete materials to teach content, make sure each concept is understood before continuing, reduce tension and pressure in mathematics classes, give positive feedback on written tests and be sensitive determined. Besides that, we can

minimize or eliminate such test and replace them by other less threatening forms of assessment, refrain from isolating a student at the blackboard but instead request that students work together in small groups co-operatively on problems, eliminate show-of-hands competitions and class contests that openly compare one student with another as many students are particularly distressed by such competitiveness. First, use the concrete materials to teach. By using the concrete material to teach student can see more the application of mathematics in reality. For example, when the teacher teach the fraction topic, the teacher can use a piece of paper to solve the fraction question before use the formula. So, it is interest for student to study the mathematics compare the teacher show the formula and force the student to remember the formula without know anything. The learning can be more fun and enjoy. Student always worry about exam, we can minimize or eliminate such test and replace them by other less threatening forms of assessment. This learning can be said the problems based learning. Student will accept the question constitute the problem and solve the

question in group. By using this method, student no tied to remember the formula only, but they will learn how to use the formula in real life. So, in another word, student can know and master the topic and formula without remember but understanding. From this solution, the anxiety of mathematic can be reduce and all at one time can be eliminate. It is because, by using this learning, student not bored and not tension with the examination and teacher teaching. So little by little the no more anxiety of mathematics.

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