New Learning Methods May Resolve Pervasive Math Anxiety Problem

The phenomenon of math anxiety is a pervasive problem that has contributed to the inability of students to effectively tackle the subject. Recent developments have forced educators and students to rethink the misconception that the difficulties associated with learning math have something to do with a person’s inherent capabilities.

There has been a movement that has been spearheaded by two educators to reform the established approaches to math instruction. The work carried out by educators Carol Dweck and Jo Boaler have sparked a sudden shift among math educators as far as teaching methodology is concerned. Combining their individual skills in education and psychology, Dweck and Boaler have inspired several educators to consider the importance that creative methods play in helping students work with various mathematical concepts.

Over the past few decades of classroom instruction, a focus on rote memorization and speed drills have contributed to the widespread aversion that adults show whenever the subject of math rears its head. Instead of a pure focus on these methods, Dweck and Boaler are encouraging the combination of individually tailored instruction methods and the inclusion of real–world applications of mathematics to increase an appreciation for the subject. According to Dweck and Boaler, the use of more creative methods of in classroom instruction motivates students to push past instances of failure to ultimately learn and absorb mathematical concepts.

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The methods that have been designed by these educators rely heavily on the use of online methods. The online learning modules that Boaler designed attempt to replace traditional teaching materials like textbooks and lectures. For some people, the radical changes are not without fault. The inability to ask a pre-recorded online instructor questions is a notable limitation. Still, these developments have excited several academics that see it as a solution to the crippling effects of math anxiety.