FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is math anxiety?
A: Math anxiety is a failure of nerve in the face of having to do
a computation or an analysis of a problem involving numbers, geometries,
or mathematical concepts.
Q: Is math anxiety inherited?
A: No. Math anxiety is a response, over time, to stress in the math
classroom where tests are frequently given under time pressure,
in the home where there is competition with siblings, or at the
work place.
Q: Are females more prone to math anxiety than males?
A: Boys have math anxiety, too, but it disables women more. Girls
often feel more stress when doing something that is considered,
in our culture (but not in others), a "male domain." Also, they
do not get to practice using math as much as boys by watching
and participating in sports. But history shows that many women
have succeeded in mathematics and mathematics-based fields of
study. In other cultures, girls are as likely to succeed in math
as boys.
Q: Why are word problems so difficult?
A: Often because they present one with a situation one is not familiar
with. The wrong answer to one question is the right answer to
another. We all learn differently, and we each have our own approach
to a problem. When those who create math problems assume that
everyone will attack them from the same angle, they open up the
possibility of tension for those who think differently. Chapter
5 in Overcoming Math Anxiety has more information and some helpful exercises.
Q: Is math anxiety curable?
A: With encouragement, a nurturing environment, and permission to
proceed at one's own pace, math anxious people can eliminate math
anxiety from their lives.
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