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Maria Droujkova

MobySnoodles

MobySnoodles

**Answer** by Jennifer
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Sep 03, 2013 at 04:45 AM

As a math tutor, I don't know how many times I have to say to a student "hmmm. . . just tell me what makes sense". The concept that math should make sense, is freeing but sadly foreign to students. I say, I don't care if its right, just does it make sense? That is the only pathway to the answer. I believe math anxiety comes from the acceptance of things that don't make sense. The child has nothing to cling to if they can't make sense of it. I love Jo Boaler's Math talk for that very reason. Lets just have a conversation about math that makes sense, but I know I'm preaching to the choir here.

**Answer** by sherylmorris
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Aug 17, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Why math anxiety?
We've not learned enough about how to be playful with it!
May I introduce you to Moebius Noodles, et al.?

**Answer** by Denise Gaskins
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Mar 31, 2013 at 06:09 PM

I think a significant contributing factor in the development of math anxiety is the culture, being surrounded by parents and teachers who hate and fear math. And I agree with dendari that the procedural nature of school math is a big problem, too---especially when children are forced to learn procedures that go against their intuition. I think that subtraction with borrowing, long division, and [calculating with fractions][1] are the big stumbling blocks in elementary arithmetic. Even the compliant children with good memories who "do well" in school math can be left with the anxious feeling that their good grades are a fraud, because they know that they don't understand what they're doing. They're just jumping through the textbook's hoops. [1]:
http://letsplaymath.net/2007/10/16/quiz-those-frustrating-fractions/

**Answer** by MobySnoodles
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Mar 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM

I recently read a study that documented math anxiety in five-year-olds. I would say it can appear as early as other "performance" anxieties. The number sense is innate, but math, in its modern sense, is neither innate nor a human universal. All cultures have humor and stories, but not all cultures have modern math. And not all people can do it. The anxiety comes from the real fear of being a have-not.

**Answer** by dendari
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Mar 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

In my experience and my anecdotal evidence supports math anxiety is usually caused by an education system that emphasizes procedural fluency. In other words students are taught to "do" math and to "find" the right answer. I theorize that this comes about because it is easier to teach and assess how to "do" math.
As "most" elementary teachers admit they are not good at math they tend to teach the process of solving problems and not the concept. All students eventually get to the point where they are forgetting which procedure to use to solve a problem, or forgetting steps within the procedures and they start to wonder if they "know" math. Thus math anxiety usually appears around fourth grade, or when long division starts to be taught.

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