“Maths anxiety” may be fuelling a national crisis, Cambridge University researchers have said, as they find that one in ten children suffer from “despair and rage” at the subject. The Telegraph reports.
The number of children who experience maths anxiety is a “real concern”, according to academics from Cambridge’s Faculty of Education and its Centre for Neuroscience.
Researchers surveyed 1,700 British pupils aged eight to 13 about their feelings towards the subject.
They found that ten per cent of children suffered from maths anxiety, meaning they had “overwhelming negative emotions” towards the subject, ranging “from rage to despair”.
The phenomenon of maths anxiety is characterised as a “general sense of feeling the subject is hard compared with other subjects”, leading to a subsequent lack or loss of confidence.
“Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when they are confronted by mathematics. This may be contributing to a relatively low level of numeracy amongst UK adults.”
Dr Denes Szucs, deputy director at Cambridge’s Centre for Neuroscience in Education and one of the report’s authors, said that there is a widespread misunderstanding that only low performing children suffer from maths anxiety.
In fact, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of children with high levels of maths anxiety are normal to high achievers.
Dr Szucs went on: “Probably their maths anxiety will go unnoticed because their performance is good. But they are very anxious and in the long term their performance is suppressed.”
Have you suffered from Maths anxiety’? Do your pupils/children suffer from it? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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