Mathematics is one of the core subjects that’s important for not just life skills but also for any career in a multitude of aspects. However, many people struggle with math and experience a phobia of it. It can cause them to avoid math classes and activities, perform poorly on tests and assignments, and even feel physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitation, and nausea.
But what is Phobia? Phobia can be described as fear of the unknown. One sure-shot method to overcome a phobia is to convert the unknown to the known. Sounds simple, isn’t it? How do we do that? Unknown in Maths means a lack of knowledge. So, gaining more knowledge in Maths means converting unknown to known. Once we know more about Maths, we gain confidence and remain calm, which means conquering our Phobia of Maths. It is said that Anything well-begun, is half done by itself. That is to mean, approaching a problem with the right attitude itself means we are midway to the solution. With this attitude, let’s dive deep into the journey to unveil tips and tricks to overcome Math phobia.
Practice makes one perfect! Math is a subject that needs consistent practice. There is no shortcut or cheat sheet to this. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with the concepts and techniques. Dedicate a set time each day to review math concepts and work through problems. Use this time to revise problems from the textbook or research online for additional practice resources and work through them. Regular practice will help to build confidence and eventually reduce anxiety.
Get a tutor or take a class
There is no point in running away from the problem. This might seem to help the fear momentarily, but this on the bigger picture means digging your own grave for failure. It’s extremely important to face the problem. Acknowledge it. Only if this process happens, can we seek help. It’s completely fine to take professional help. Work with a tutor or enrol in an online/physical class. A tutor can provide personalised attention and help address specific areas of difficulty. A class, on the other hand, provides a structured learning environment where you can practice with peers and receive feedback from a teacher. Both options can help to reinforce understanding and increase confidence in math.
Take one at a time Approach
Any problem looks overwhelming in the first place. It does get better with every single step we take. The same applies to Math. Breaking down the problem into smaller parts can make it seem more manageable. This can involve identifying individual steps and solving smaller sub-problems. By breaking down problems into smaller parts, you can focus on one step at a time and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Use Learning Aids
Many people struggle with math because of its difficulty in visualising abstract concepts. Maths learning and teaching have evolved drastically where in a variety of smart learning tools and aids are available. Visual aids and physical manipulatives can help to bridge this gap. For example, using base ten blocks to represent numbers, or creating a chart to visualise patterns and relationships can help to deepen understanding and reduce anxiety. In today’s digital world, watching online videos/ tutorials that demonstrate ways to solve concepts is also a smart way. Maths phobia at a younger age can be handled by using these play way learning techniques. The earlier we try to break the phobia and the patterns leading to phobia, the lesser struggle and smoother the Math learning process.
Mistakes are an important part of learning
It’s ok to make mistakes, provided you learn from them. Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process, and it’s important to embrace this aspect in math as well. Mistakes are a great way to reflect and analyse where you need more practice and learn to solve them correctly the next time. Take the time to reflect, understand what went wrong, and find ways to avoid making the same error in the future.
Having a positive approach
Negative thoughts, such as “I’m not good at math” or “I’ll never understand this,” can fuel the math phobia and hinder progress. Shift your focus from problems to solutions. Reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, “I can do this, I just need to practice more” or ” I will keep trying.” This shift in perspective can help to reduce anxiety and increase confidence.
Maths phobia can be exacerbated due to stress and anxiety. Practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help you calm down and improve focus and concentration.
Find a study group
If you are a person who works best when studying in a group, then embrace this method of studying. Find a study group to work together on Math problems. This can be a great way to overcome math phobia. Study groups provide an opportunity to collaborate, share strategies, and receive support. Working with others helps build confidence and reduce feelings of isolation.
Math phobia is a common issue faced by many students. However, by understanding its root cause, changing your mindset, practising regularly, seeking help, learning at your pace, breaking down the problem, using relaxation techniques, using visual aids, and seeking support, it is possible to overcome math phobia and excel in the subject.
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