Most times, math anxiety appears because of a past bad experience with a math class. Based on this experience, someone can decide that they are no good at math and their present and future math learning is negatively impacted. Based on this, math anxiety is a learned response to a situation and therefore, with work, can be unlearned.
Before overcoming math anxiety, there are a few myths, which must be addressed:
Myth: Some people are good at math and some people are not.
While it is true that some people may be better at math than others, just as some people are more talented at music, almost every person has the ability to learn math. Ask your parents if you had a difficult time learning how to count or understanding the concept of numbers. Most probably, you learned how to count at a “normal” age and when you were just a few years old, you could picture what “2” cookies looked like. This is where math begins. This understanding shows that you also have the ability to learn math.
Myth: Boys are better at math than girls.
Even with modern day understanding that women are just as smart as men, this myth still is believed by many people. Today, it is accepted that women can accomplish just as much as men. But somehow, when it comes to math, many people still believe the opposite. There is no research to back up the belief that boys do better in math than girls.
Myth: Math is all logic.
Math involves concepts just as much as it includes logic. It is important to understand the concepts behind the calculations. Without understanding concepts first, the calculations will make no sense. Math, therefore, is a combination of both concepts and logic.
In addition to understanding the misconceptions surrounding math and how they can impact people’s perceptions about their abilities, there are a number of ways people can help themselves to overcome some of their math anxiety:
1) Ask questions
When you don’t understand something your teacher has explained, ask questions and ask for it to be explained again. If necessary, try to meet with the teacher outside of normal classroom time. This allows the teacher to spend on-on-one time to answer your specific questions and to be sure you understand the concepts being covered.