Mathematics Anxiety


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Mathematics Anxiety

  2. 2. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYDEFINITION OF MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Webster’s New Word Dictionary explains anxiety as worry or uneasiness about whatmay happen. Freud (1924) defined anxiety as “something felt,” a specific unpleasantemotional state or condition that included feeling of apprehension, tension, worry andphysiological arousal, and equated with fear with objective anxiety, which he considered tobe an emotional in its intensity to a real danger in the external world. Tobias & Weissbrod (1980) defined mathematics anxiety as “the panic, helplessness,paralysis and mental disorganization that arises among some people when they are requiredto solve a mathematical problem. Meanwhile, Ashcraft & Faust (1994) also definedmathematics anxiety as feelings of tension, apprehension, or even dread that interferes withthe ordinary manipulation of number and the solving of mathematical problems. Like stagefright, mathematics anxiety can be disabling condition, causing humiliation, resentment, andeven panic. Mathematics anxiety can cause one to forget and lose one’s self confidence(Tobias, S., 1993).UNDERSTANDING MATH ANXIETY There appear to be three major domains which are involved with the development ofmathematics anxiety. There is naturally some overlap between and among them and theirboundaries are not well defined. In order to facilitate the development of this model ofmathematics anxiety, the domains will be treated as though they are distinct and well defined. Associated with each domain is a continuum on which it is assumed that any studentat any particular time may be found. The extremes of the continua are given and discussedbelow. The colour codes associate each continuum with its appropriate domain. 1
  3. 3. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY The Social / Motivational Domain include those forces that act upon a person throughthe agencies of family, friends, and society as a whole. The continuum associated with thisdomain is Behaviour because although choices are influenced by others, they are ultimatelymade by the individual. The Behaviour Continuum has Pursuit and Avoidance as itsopposites. These behaviours are logical consequences of the value place on mathematics,which is influenced by the attitudes of significant others and by society in general. The Intellectual / Educational Domain are comprised of those influences that arecognitive in nature. Specifically, they include but are not limited to, the knowledge and skillsan individual has and or is expected to acquire and his or her perception of success or failurein them. Although others may “grade” an individual’s performance in this domain, peopleform their own evaluations of their performance in this area. The continuum associated withthis domain is Achievement, where individual perception is paramount. Success and Failureare the extremes of the Achievement Continuum, and are the subjective evaluations regardingone’s acquisition or use of mathematics skill and concepts. The Psychological / Emotional Domain are formed by the faculties that are affectivein nature. It is largely comprised of the individual’s emotional history, reactions to stimuliand arousal states. Hence, the continuum associated with this domain is Feelings. At eitherend of the Feelings Continuum lie Anxiety and Confidence, although it could be argued thatenjoyment in even further removed from anxiety that confidence. The assumption is that moststudents would find it puzzling to think of mathematics as enjoyable. Confidence can beequated with comfortableness, rather than pleasure. 2
  4. 4. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Research indicates that the more confidence a person has in mathematics, the morelikely he or she is to be successful in such tasks (Betz, 1977, p22) and the more confidencethe individual has toward learning and using mathematics, the more likely he or she is topursue its study. Anxiety reactions to mathematical situations may contribute to failure in mathematics(Tobias & Weissbrod, 1980, p63). In fact, a person who has high mathematics anxiety mayactually be unable to perform well on test, and may be unable to learn in a mathematicsclassroom. Mathematics anxiety also directly contributes to avoiding mathematics (Tobias &Weissbrod, 1980, p63).THE MATH ANXIETY PROCESS Unpleasant encounters with math in formative years can be ruinous to subsequentlearning. Students who were made to feel bad about math become wary and prejudicedagainst it. They mistrust their own abilities. New experiences in math, seen in light of the old,are tarnished by their troubled past, which only accentuates and reinforces long-entrenchednegativity. 3
  5. 5. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Bad feelings persist. This impairs prospects for learning new material and generatesanxiety and self-doubt. They say negative things to themselves, such as “I’m stupid”, “I’llnever be able to do math”, “I’ll fail” and “Why do I need to know math anyway?” Soon acontinuous flood of negative talk about math ensues; before long, anxiety, overwhelmingfears of failing or looking stupid and panic set in. Physically, these people may experience nausea, perspire profusely, develop aheadache or tight muscles, or exhibit a number of other physical symptoms. Mentally, theybecome confused or disorganized, make lots of careless errors, and forget formulas theyknew, can’t think clearly, or blank out entirely. The end result: poor math performance, avoidance of math, “choking under pressure”,and failure. All these negative results lead back to more negative thinking, and the cyclecontinues. 4
  6. 6. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYMYTHS AND MISCONCEPTION1. Aptitude for mathematics is inborn.2. To be good at mathematics you have to be good at calculating.3. Maths requires logic, not creativity.4. In mathematics, what’s important is getting the right answer.5. Men are naturally better than women at mathematical thinking.WHAT CAUSES MATHEMATICS ANXIETY From the research conducted by (Marzita Puteh, 1998), there are several causes ofmathematics anxiety. The major cause of mathematics anxiety was related to teacherpersonality and their style of teaching. Besides that, public examination and their effects alsolead to mathematics anxiety. Other than that, it is also related to affective domain or the selffactor such as student’s personality and his perception to mathematics. Feelings and worriesalso lead to mathematics anxiety since students will have difficulties with their memory andinnate disability. Moreover, students were also burden by parent’s expectation and standards wherethey must excel in mathematics if they want to success. Furthermore, it was found that peergroup influences and the relevance of studying mathematics also caused mathematics anxiety.TEACHER PERSONALITY AND THEIR STYLE OF TEACHING Math anxiety is caused by the negative predispositions of mathematics teacher.Teachers and parents that are afraid of mathematics pass that on to their students and children 5
  7. 7. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY(Furner & Duffy, 2002). Teachers with mathematics anxiety transmit their anxiety to theirstudents (Kelly and Tomhave, 1985; Bulman and Young, 1982 and Lazarus, 1974). If the teacher does not value mathematics, his students certainly cannot be expectedto value mathematics either. There are many things the mathematics teacher can do that willprovoke his students to dislike mathematics. The teacher may be perceived as not caringabout students because he is unwilling to give extra help to students who need it. Thestudents need to know that their teacher is able and willing to help them. Most students fear of asking for help and they feel shy because they do not know howto solve the mathematics problems. Besides that, the fear of being blamed by their teachersseemed to be a recurring theme in the students’ response. This situation created a barrierbetween the teacher and the student relationship. According to (Jackson & Leffingwell, 1999), the teacher needs to be aware of hiswords, sighs, and overall body language. This is because the teacher may become angry orfrustrated and use non-proper words when his class does not understand the problems. Moreover, covering the textbook problem by problem can turn students off fromlearning mathematics. Also, giving written work every day, insisting there is only one correctway to complete a problem, and assigning mathematics problems as punishment formisbehaviour can cause students to dislike mathematics (Furner & Duffy, 2002). No one enjoys discipline. Making students do mathematics as a form of disciplinecould very likely cause students to dislike mathematics.PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS AND THEIR EFFECT In Malaysia, the Education System is highly examination-oriented. Many studentsperceive that getting good grades will indicate their achievements. There is a perception that 6
  8. 8. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYgetting an A for mathematics in public examination reflect that the person has better IQ.Good achievement in Mathematics has also been the basic requirement for the student tofurther their studies. In this way, students felt threatened by mathematics examination. Morris (1981) stated that mathematics tends to lend itself to being taught withprocedures that unnecessarily build tension and pressure in some students. She further arguethat for example, in a timed test, many especially the anxious, tend to freeze up under timepressure. A study by Betz (1978) revealed that the level of mathematics anxiety reported wasrelated to scores on a standardized mathematics achievement test. In other words people withhigh achievement scores tended to report low mathematics anxiety and vice versa. Thetrainees here seemed to confirm that high anxiety about mathematics was predictably likedwith poor results in public examinations.AFFECTIVE DOMAIN - THE SELF FACTOR, SUCH AS PERSONALITY,PERCEPTION From the affective perspective, Bush (1991) commented that mathematics anxietyarises from a climate in which negative attitudes and anxiety are transmitted from adults tochildren. McMillan (1976) found that teachers’ attitude and enthusiasm toward a subject hadgreater impact on student attitudes than instructional variables. Lazarus (1974) and Wilhelm and Brooks (1980) added that negative parental attitudesmay be transmitted to their children and that parents often reinforce their children’smathematics anxiety. It could be very difficult for students to like mathematics when theirparents did not do well in mathematics themselves, and thus do not understand it or do notthink it is important. 7
  9. 9. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Students could see their parents as having a job and doing well without a great lovefor mathematics and think that they will be successful without an appreciation ofmathematics as well. Students with low achievement in mathematics usually those with low self esteemand slow learner, easily giving-up, dislike of being challenged, low confidence and selfblaming for poor mathematics performance.FEELINGS, WORRIES, DIFFICULTIES (MEMORY, INNATE DISABILITY) Burton, 1979 says that signs on people that have mathematics anxiety are likesweating palms, queasy stomach, panic, fear, clenched fists, cold sweat, helplessness, tension,distress, dry mouth, shame and inability to cope and many more just like other phobia.Students confronted with a difficult mathematical task on which they are to be assessed mayfeel nervous and show signs such as tremor in the limbs and sweating of hands. A student may, for a variety of reasons, develop an emotional and intellectual blocktowards the learning of mathematics in the course of his school years. Lazarus (1974)describe that a student who has developed an emotional and intellectual block againstmathematics finds that making progress in mathematics and closely related fields is verydifficult. If student became over-anxious when he or she did not fully understand some partof the mathematics lesson, they would make greater effort to comprehend. Such a studentactively turns away from mathematics and rapidly develops a fatalistic attitude aboutmathematics, fully expecting to do badly. Therefore, constant failure in solving mathematicalproblem hence triggers the dislike for the subject. 8
  10. 10. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYPARENTAL EXPECTATIONS - THEIR ASPIRATIONS AND STANDARDS The students think too much to meet the expectations and standards of their parents.The pressure from family occurs especially if any of the family members do better inmathematics. Students could see their parents as having a job and doing well without a greatlove for mathematics and think that they will be successful without an appreciation ofmathematics as well.PEER GROUP INFLUENCES Peer network interactions might operate in a number of ways to develop andencourage attitudes, values, and behaviours related to learning. Pattison (1994) argues thatsocial influence can be classified into three categories. Firstly, a social relationship maydetermine the type of information a person is exposed to. Secondly, typical patterns of socialinteraction may lead to social influence, i.e., when students develop a shared level ofmathematics anxiety to show affinity to their peer group. And thirdly, social influence mayoccur when people perceive that their social position (e.g. as an active or not-active memberof the peer network) has implications for cognition and behaviour. Students with low performance (slow learner) try to move the same phase as thosewith higher achievements in mathematics, and if they failed to do so, they give up. Studentswith low performance’s belief that they will not do better, they then influence friends in theircircle. 9
  11. 11. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYRELEVANCE - THE USAGE OF MATHEMATICS IN EVERYDAY LIFE The most prominent issue raised by the trainees was that their teachers were using oldfashioned way of teaching (Puteh, 2002). The way of the subject was being taught led thetrainees to perceive the subject as having no links to everyday life. Thus the process creates adislike for the subject and an anxiety by itself. They cannot relate the theories they have learnt in mathematics lesson to the real lifesituation.REVIEW: IMPLICATION OF ANXIETY TOWARDS STUDENTS THE MATHEMATIC ANXIETY PATTERN Under ‘The Mathematical Anxiety Pattern’ by (Puteh, 2002) shown in Chart 2,students through negative experiences will expect failure, and through this pattern each timethey avoid or unable to perform they will again confirm their expectation of failure. Hence,by restructuring the attitude, this process can be avoided (Mitchell and Collin, 1991, p.45).Contribution to the formation of negative attitudes towards mathematics anxiety (Puteh,2002) are listed below; fear of asking for help, teachers blaming students for notunderstanding, teacher ridiculing students. Teacher’s strictness and fierceness, use of threatsand force by teachers, teachers not showing interest in their students, teaching style whichemphasis the transfer of information and not attention to the learning of the individual. 10
  12. 12. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Chart 2: The Mathematic Anxiety PatternPRESSURE OF EXAMINATION AND ITS EFFECTS ON STUDENTS Betz (1978) stated that at college level, the level of mathematics anxiety was relatedto scores. When students having low mathematics anxiety, normally they achieved higherscores, and vice versa.PARENTAL AND PEER GROUP INFLUENCES TOWARDS MATHEMATICS According to Poffeenberger and Norton (1959), parents affect on child’s attitude andperformance can be in 3 ways; Parental encouragement will have a positive impact towardsstudents’ mathematics interest thus relieving their anxieties towards that subject. Parent’sown attitudes and trust in encouraging and motivating their child towards mathematics doessignificantly improve their attitude towards the subject generally. Parental expectations ofchild’s achievement may put a lot of pressure on them to do well in mathematics. Highexpectations towards mathematics from parents will develop the students’ interest andconfidence in the subject. However, too high of an expectation will create anxiety andavoidance toward the subject. Peer group can play an important role in either reinforcing or 11
  13. 13. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYremoving their negative attitude and behaviour towards mathematics. These two factors havegreat impact on students’ performance and also math anxiety that should not be taken lightly. Kenschaft (1991) reported that parent’s support or lack of support is an important instudents’ attitude and participation in mathematics instruction. Dossey (1992) consideredteachers important role in shaping attitudes towards mathematics. While Harris (1995),concluded that peer affiliations become increasingly more influential on shaping attitudesthan parents and teachers.MATH ANXIETY IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS Studies have documented the negative effects of mathematics anxiety on mathematicsperformance and achievement. Students’ mathematics anxiety may impact on their ability tolearn Mathematics more effectively. According to Liebert and Morris (1967), they haddistinguished two components of test anxiety. Worry is the cognitive component of anxiety,consisting of self-deprecatory thoughts about one’s performance. Emotionality is the affectivecomponent of anxiety, including feelings of nervousness, tension, and unpleasantphysiological reactions to testing situations. The purpose of this study is to examine the age and gender difference in mathematicsanxiety. In regards to gender differences, there were no differences in the structure of boys’and girls’ responses to the Math Anxiety Questionnaires which indicates that they wereanswering the items in similar ways. Boys and girls also did not differ in their reports of mathworry, which indicates that they were equally concerned about doing well in mathematics.However girl reported experiencing more negative affective reactions to mathematics thanboys. These implicate that that as math courses get harder, girls will be more likely to stoptaking math when they have that option. The suggestion by researchers is that intervention 12
  14. 14. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYprograms to alleviate the affective and cognitive aspects of math anxiety must deal with bothaffective and cognitive aspects. These programs should be implemented during theelementary school years, before children’s anxiety about math becomes too stronglyestablished.HOW NEGATIVE EXPECTANCIES AND ATTITUDES UNDERMAINE FEMALES’MATH CONFIDENCE AND PERFORMANCE Societies as a whole believe females are less mathematically capable than males. Thisbelief is communicated to parents and teachers, who pass it along to students. Girls come toview their failures in mathematics as evidence that they are indeed inferior and to view theirsuccesses as flukes. This belief reinforces the belief that females are not capable of doingwell in mathematics. Females stop taking advanced mathematics courses in high school orcollege, believing them too difficult. In the end, the expectancies of their parents and teachersare fulfilled and society was further “proof” of females’ inferior mathematical ability. ReferDiagram 1 as Cycle of Low Expectancy on Female Students by Parents and Teachers Diagram 1: Cycle of Low Expectancy on Female Students by Parents and Teachers 13
  15. 15. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY The findings by researchers further found that the differences between males’ andfemales’ performance is quite small. There is no significant difference between boys and girlsmathematical achievement in elementary school and few differences at any age (Feingold,1988, NAEP, 1983; Shipman, Krantz & Silver, 1992). These differences are getting smallerover time (Hyde & Linn, 1988). In future, as differences decrease, parents and teachers will see more of that femaleare capable of performing well in mathematics. This will lead to more parental and academicsupport, further enhancing females’ ability. In this way, the cycle may be brokenTHE EFFECTS OF MATHEMATICS ANXIETY ON MATRICULATIONSTUDENTS AS RELATED TO MOTIVATION AND ACHIEVEMENT Based on the review of literature by Effandi Zakaria & Norazah Mohd Nordin (2008),the results of their study provide evidence that mathematical anxiety has an important effectin mathematics education. When the mathematics anxiety is high, students’ achievement islow, when the anxiety is low, students’ achievements is high. Therefore, teacher should bethinking on how to reduce students’ anxieties by finding a better way to teach mathematics.Implication on this, Woodard (2004) suggested techniques to reduce students’ anxietytowards mathematics. Firstly, create an environment in which students do not feel threatenedand allowing them to relax. Secondly, teachers can use cooperative grouping to encourageteamwork in problem solving. Thirdly, teachers must teach at a slower pace as to let thestudents comprehend better of what the learning is all about. Last but not least, teachers canprovide extra tuition session to build up the students’ understanding towards learningmathematics. 14
  16. 16. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYLITERATURE REVIEW FINDINGS Mathematics anxieties do exist and are potentially affecting the associated learning ofall students. The root can be affective and cognitive, with people’s belief influencing the waythey think about mathematics and subsequently affecting their learning. There are lots ofevidences showing us that the ability to do mathematics is strongly influenced by people’sattitudes rather than any cognitive skills. Thus we need to further research how to preventsuch anxiety on students.TEACHERS’ ANXIETY (TEACHING ANXIETY) As every issues were pointed to teachers, we are here to claim a little more justice forthe teachers where even at the end, teachers still cannot avoid to be the party who should bethe most responsible for the entire anxiety issues in math, but at least, to be given a little bitforgiveness. Here we are looking into three main factors that arise in approaching the teachers’anxiety, which more suitable, the teaching anxiety. Therefore, we categorize it into threemain categories, which are view from the personality, environment and intellectual.PERSONALITY Roseman and Smith believe that emotions are caused by the interpretations of events,rather than events themselves. (Mei-Lin Chang, 2009) Emotional can be affected by any ofthe following, it just the matter of how a person manage the emotion with tactful and notinvolving third party, which are the students in school. Emotion regulation refers to “the 15
  17. 17. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYprocesses by which we influence which emotions we have, when we have them, and how weenvironment and express them”, said Gross (Mei-Lin Chang, 2009) Mostly emotion was distracted by surrounding such as family matter, financialdifficulty, and physiological imbalance, which a person, without oneself awareness beingbrought forward into the life, and then to the works in school. Lastly, this imbalance emotionwill be carry on into classes especially when facing students which we mostly know of theiractive behaviour. This normally will end up with either punishment and/or low performanceof teaching and learning process. The failure to monitoring classes will also affecting ones emotion and having thefeeling of did not wanted to get in to particular classes. From Nixon understanding,Emotional valences can extend to other aspects of the communication environment. Forinstance, negative experiences with emotion work can result in an overall negative emotionalvalence (Scott, Margaret & Joseph, 2010).They are sometime give up on trying to manage theclass or only choose a few of the talent students to be concern more so that at least thisparticular students will have a better chance in scoring the paper. This action will lead to themisunderstanding on how the students think on the teacher by what the teacher may look onthem. Students actually are a very simple in sensation of someone’s reaction. What theteacher done will let them having thought of that teacher did not likes them, and therefore asto rebel that action, they tend to dislike the teacher, following by hating the subject thatteacher taught. We all know that learning mathematics is an on-going process, where mathematics isrelated in every single topic. Distributing mathematics into few topics is to let teaching to beconvenient. But now days, teachers have been given so much of works until themselveshaving the difficulty in managing time. Mostly the classes will be taking over by temporaryteachers or new teacher to continue the lessons. When they return to the class, they will find 16
  18. 18. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYthey it is hard to follow back what have been planned and the interruption of new schedulingwill only make things getting worse. Personal experiences are also the main reason on influencing teaching anxiety.Normally this happened to those who are new in teaching field. Mostly, Pre-service teacherslearn majority about the pedagogy of teaching and learning, rather than to be tested theunderstanding on mathematics concepts and how pedagogy took place in understanding thoseconcept ideas. Therefore, when they approaching the real teaching situation, they are merelywanted students to score high in examination and increasing their own reputation in teachingfield. So they tend to teach in the form of memorising formulas and application. This wasbecause they still lack of experience and suitable creativity in creating interesting lessonswhich fit to the students and the situation. Furthermore, new and normally young teacher will be assigned to teach those who areless talented students which usually, the class align at the back of the rank. The reason of thiskind of arrangement was because these classes normally need more attention and afford toguide compare to the others which aligned at the front rank. This has cause the new teachers,who are usually being blamed to be no experience and less professionals, facing the toughchallenges at the mean while they might also being assigned to the others new activities ofschool rather than simply teaching in class.ENVIRONMENT The issues related to the environment, we are pointing towards the facilities andschool management abilities which are not in the hand of control by teachers; where we maycall it as the spontaneous event or dilemmas. 17
  19. 19. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Sometimes teachers have prepared well on thing that he or she is going to teach butsuddenly things does not going well as expected. It could be the events arise in the middle ofteaching such as announcement of gathering teachers of science and mathematics for themeetings, or announcement of the clubs meeting that student’s representative will ask for thepermissions to give their announcement in meeting of few students in the class. These all arequite interrupting the process of teaching. Now talk about the facilities, accidents could happen most of the time withoutexpected. The faultiness of facilities such as computer, projectors, clashes schedule oflaboratory arrangement and so on. All of these accidents was not able to be predicted, and thelesson might not going well even though teacher has planned and organize everything well. Another issue that happened in most of the school in town area, which is one class,hold large number of students and some even reaching in the number of fifty or more. Theclass is too large until not every student will get the fully attention from the teacher. There areresearch proving that smaller classes can shrink the achievement gap and lead to reducedgrade retention, fewer disciplinary actions, less dropping out, and more students takingcollege entrance exams (Jeremy & Charles, 2003).CULTURAL MISCONCEPTION Issues relating with the cultural matter happened all around the world. Themisconceptions are usually deeply implanted in the basic understanding and affecting onesperception, even in the mind of the teacher which also coming from the same background. 18
  20. 20. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY “If interaction always has a purpose, it also has meaning for those involved. At its broadest, the teacher-student interaction is probably interpreted as having some form of educational meaning (as opposed to other forms of meaning that could exist between adults and young people). However, when we dig down to specific individual meanings for the interaction that takes place “in the school” there can, once again, be a wide variety of meanings for those involved. For the teacher, for example, these can range from “education” being a vocation – their mission is to influence and change lives for the better – to the idea that education is “just a job”; something that is to be endured because it pays the bills” (Chris & Tony, n.d) From what have quoted from Chris and Tony, it is the matter of what the teacher isthinking about the teaching and that will be the matter of how he or her performs the teachingprocess. Another misconception is where, from the research of Sian Beilock, teachers who areanxious about their own math abilities are translating some of that to their kids (KarenKaplan, 2010). The research are saying that the anxiety that pass through from the teacher tothe students may lead to a misunderstanding that male can do better mathematics than female. 19
  21. 21. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYINTELLECTUAL As mentioned before, teachers normally are being trained on the pedagogy of teachingand learning rather than to understanding the concept itself. Therefore, we are sure that everyteacher knows how to perform the calculation and pass it in the same way the application tothe students without knowing the actual concept of the formulas and where or how it iscoming from. When some of the high curiosity students expecting to learn more than simply theapplication itself, teacher find that it is hard to analyse and elaborate the concept, and lettingstudents to be more easily relating the understanding they are performing, into the real worldof application. This is because mathematics does not come by itself without any reason. Bylooking through how those mathematicians creating those formulas, we can see that most ofthem are stranded into a real world situation, which inspire them to design and manipulatesuitable formula to be use by everyone else. The intelligence in overcoming difference learning background also is a bigchallenges to a teacher especially in local, there are three main different learning backgroundand each of them are conducting their own creativity so help students improving theirunderstanding. When all of them are gathered into one same teacher, the teacher will foundthat one same question will lead to many difference applications which come to the sameanswer. So it is depending on ones intellectual to judge the marking scheme. Anyinappropriate action will undermines confidence students’ confidence in performing the samecalculation in future. 20
  22. 22. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYRECOMMENDATIONS How can math anxiety prevent and reduce? Schools can help prevent math anxietyfrom occurring in students because teachers play a critical role in helping to develop positiveattitudes toward math. According to Tobias (1987), one way for students to reduce mathanxiety is to recognize when panic starts, to identify the inactiveness in their analytic andretrieval systems, and to clear up the static without ceasing to work on the problem.“Mathitude Survey” is a practical idea for teachers and students to assess their attitudestoward math at the beginning of a school. Hackworth (1992) suggested that discussing andwriting about math feelings will assist in reducing math anxiety. Teachers have the responsible to help students to see the important of math. Pupilsshould learn to value and see application for learning math inside and outside the classroomsince math surrounds us, everything in life is a problem (many involve math). This will ableto help students realize that it is not something from which they can escape, but a tool theyneed to learn how to use and apply in real-life situations. It is important for students tobecome confident in their ability to do math. According to Spikell (1993), students learn best when they are active rather thanpassive learners. Hence, teachers must employ best practices for teaching mathematics intheir classrooms by addressing different learning style. We should accept the truth thateveryone is capable of learning, but may learn in different ways. The theory of multipleintelligences addresses the different learning styles which the lesson can be presented forvisual/spatial, logical/mathematics, musical, body/kinaesthetic, interpersonal andintrapersonal and verbal/linguistic. 21
  23. 23. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Math need relevant to students’ everyday life. Thus, students today need for practicalmath too. Students enjoy experimenting and engaging in exploring, conjecturing, andthinking rather than, engaged only in rote learning of rules and procedures. So, the use ofmanipulative will able to make learning math concrete. Some of the abstract ideas can bemodel or represent by the pictures and symbols. This also provides a chance of hand-onactivity for students to enjoy their learning in math. Students who collaborate can develop a synergy among themselves which supportstheir learning, helping them to learn more, more quickly, and more lastingly. Anotherpractical idea for teacher is having the cooperative group work so that able to providestudents a chance to exchange ideas. Cooperative groups provide students a chance toexchange ideas, to ask questions freely, to explain to one another, to clarify ideas inmeaningful ways and to express feelings about their learning (Furner & Berman, 2002).These skills acquired at an early age will be greatly beneficial throughout their adult workinglife. Use the computer, scientific or graphing calculators, internet and all technology!There are vast resources out there to help students learn math as well as conquer their mathanxiety. Many teachers and professors around the world have developed web-sites dedicatedto helping students succeed at all levels of math. Young children enjoy jokes and cartoons. With all the tension and anxiety, mathhumour is greatly needed. The cartoons may be used to introduce a concept or for classdiscussion whereas the jokes are typical case of real life problems. Apart from that, somegames that are beneficial to learners and are enjoyed are cards playing, Life, Yahtzee,Battleship and Tangrams. 22
  24. 24. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY Schools really need to shift toward assessing studentsfull mathematical power bygiving students multiple opportunities to demonstrate their full mathematical understanding,aligning assessment with curriculum and instruction, and regarding assessment as continualand recursive (NCTM, 1995). Teachers need to employ alternative forms of assessment inmath classes, such as: observations, questioning, interviews, performance tasks, self-assessments of students, work samples, portfolios, writing samples, paper and pencil tests,and standardized tests. By carrying out the authentic assessment, students will be more likelyto be problem solvers for the real life situations. Teachers also need to emphasize morecommunication in the classroom through discussion, problem solving, discourse, and writing. Students are very crucible of math anxiety because the math exams represent a do-or-die challenge that can inflame all one’s doubts and frustrations. Here are some techniques andstrategies that the teachers must teach to improve students’ test-taking experience, such asnote-taking skills, test-taking skills, relaxation techniques, tell the importance of homeworkor studying, the way to read and use the textbook, address the positive “I” messages and alsoguide students on visualization of success in math. Students have the big indeed to learn the self-help techniques for combating mathanxiety. These techniques include learn stress management and relaxation techniques, combatnegative thinking, visualize yourself succeeding, do “easiest” problems first, start preparingearly before the examination, try to understand the “why” of math concepts rather thanmemorizing, find a support group do math every day and study smart, utilize all yourresources and reward yourself for hard work! As a conclusion, math anxiety happens in the classroom due to the lack ofconsideration of different learning styles of students. Math must be looked upon in a positivelight to reduce math anxiety. Teachers must change their teaching approaches fromtraditional teaching methods which often do not match students’ learning styles. Once young 23
  25. 25. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYchildren see math as fun, they will enjoy it, and, the joy of mathematics could remain withthem throughout the rest of their lives. The teachers begin a cycle that will produce less math-anxious students for generations come. ReferencesAshcraft. M. & Kirk. E. P (2001). The relationships among working memory, math anxiety and performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralAshcraft. M. H. and Faust. M.W. (1994). Mathematics anxiety and mental arithmetic performance: An exploratory investigation. Cognition and Emotion, Vol. 8: 97 – 125Betz, No. (1978). Prevalence, distribution, and correlates of math Anxiety in College Students. Journal of Counseling Psychology . 25(5), 441-48.Chang, Mei-Lin (2009). Teacher Emotional Management in the Classroom: Appraisals, Regulation, and Coping with Emotions. American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA. Retrieve from 29/Annual_Meeintg/ChangAERA_Teacher%20Emotion.pdfChris. L. & Tony L. (n.d.). Unit 1: Cultural and Identity. AS Sociology and AQA (2nd ed.). Retrieved from A. Arem. (2010). Conquering Math Anxiety. Canada: Brooks/ColeFrued. S. (1924). The problem of anxiety. New York: W.W. NortonFurner, J. M., & Berman, B. T. (2002). Confidence in Their Ability to Do Mathematics: The Need to Eradicate Math Anxiety so our Future Students Can Successfully Compete in a High-tech Globally Competitive World. 24
  26. 26. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYGutbezahl, J (1995). How Negative Expectancies and Attitudes Undermine Females’ Math Confidence and Performance. ED 380 279Hackworth, R. D. (1992). Math anxiety reduction. Clearwater, FL: H & H Publishing Company.Jeremy D. F. & Charles M. A. (2003). Class Size: Counting Students Can Count. Essential Information for Education Policy, 1 (2). Retrieve from 3.pdfJodi Elin Edelmuth (2006). Acknowledging Math Anxiety: Techniques For Teachers, Parents, And StudentsKaren Kaplan. (2010). Female teachers may pass on math anxiety to girls, study finds. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from sci-math26-2010jan26Liebert, R.M., & Morris,L,W. (1967). Cognitive and emotional components of test Anxiety: A distinction and some initial data. Psychological Reports, 20, 975-978.Puteh, M. (2002), Factors Associated with Mathematics Anxiety. Penerbit UPSIRachel R. McAnallen (2010). Examining Mathematics Anxiety in Elementary Classroom TeachersSarah Buckley (2008). Peer Relationships In The Mathematics Classroom: A Social Network Approach To Understanding Anxiety And Motivation.Scott Titsworth, Margaret M. Quinlan & Joseph P. Mazer (2010). Emotion in Teaching and Learning: Development and Validation of the Classroom Emotions Scale, Communication Education, 59:4, 431-452Spikell, M.(1993). Teaching mathematics with manipulatives: A resource of activities for the K-12 teacher. New York: Allyn and Bacon. 25
  27. 27. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYTobias, S.(1987). Succeed with math: Every student guide to conquering math anxiety. s New York: College Board Publications.Tobias, S. & Weissbrod. C.(1980). Anxiety and mathematics: An update. Harvard Educational ReviewWigfield, A and L.Meece ,J (1988). Mathematics Anxiety in Elementary and Secondary School Students. Journal of Educational Psychology 1988. Vol.80. No.2, 210-215.Woodard, T (2004). The Effects of Math Anxiety on Post-Secondary Developmental Students as Related to Achievement, Gender and Age, Inquiry , 9(1).Zakaria, E. & Mohd Nordin, N (2008). The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety on Matriculation Students as Related to Motivation and Achievement. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 4(1), 27-30. 26