Maths phobia can be defined as a feeling of anxiety that stops one from efficiently tackling mathematical problems. Many think of Maths as an extremely tough subject that they cannot master. This negative attitude stops them all the more from focusing on the problem they are tackling. Just before tests or exams they start to get extremely nervous.
Maths anxiety is associated with physical symptoms such as sweaty palms and racing heart, and also worry or fear that interferes with Maths performance. It is a condition that has follow-on effects through life by affecting career paths. Today, as we celebrate National Mathematics Day, declared by Dr Manmohan Singh in 2012, marking the birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan, we give you few tips to overcome Maths phobia.
Avoiding Maths will not help
Many kids and some parents feel that if the kid is afraid of numbers then it is perhaps better to let him avoid the subject altogether. This is one subject you cannot get away with. At some point they have to come back to it. In most education systems around the world, Maths is a compulsory subject, not a choice. And, if you have to anyway do it, better to deal with it.
Acknowledge your Maths anxiety
As with most phobias and addictions, the first step to treatment is admitting the problem. It is not a big deal. Various studies have proven that a majority population has had Maths phobia at some point in their lives. But if you don’t acknowledge it, you will never be able to figure out a solution.
Do calculations mentally in everyday life
Go out for grocery shopping with your mother and try to beat the shop-keeper in his speed of calculation. Try this especially with fruit or vegetable vendors. They don’t use calculators and are good at mental Maths. You will soon understand the secret of their speed, which is breaking down the calculations to a level of simplicity they can handle. In super markets you will often find discounts. Use such small opportunities to learn discounting and percentage calculations.
Do not stick to text books
Most of us hate text books. It is very important to take Mathematics out of text books as they can get boring at times. Use newspapers and magazines to read and interpret and explain the usage of graphs and charts like bar chart, pie chart, line chart and histogram. If you are consistent, understanding statistics will become simpler in future.
Play number games
Some board games like Monopoly can help in strategic thinking as well as improve basic calculation skills. Playing cards games which involve certain amount of calculations can help you in improving your speed of calculation. Permutation and Combination and Probability can be taught using coins, dice and playing cards. You can alternatively play number guessing games with your friends. With time you will become a champion at numbers.
The most important tip, often advised by teachers is to practice. Keep problem solving sessions short at first – no more than 10 to 15 minutes a day. Slowly include longer problems that require more persistence. Math is made up of rules, processes and procedures. When a bit of practice is done every day, the processes become very clear.
Work with a tutor
Work with a tutor or other students who can understand the course content when you are struggling. A tutor will not only explain the logics behind every equation, he or she will ensure you practice regularly.
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