Which are you more scared of – snakes or maths?
According to research by the University of Cambridge, “Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when confronted by a maths problem.”
While it’s easy for children to avoid the reptile house at the zoo, numbers and maths are everywhere. From telling the time to baking a cake or playing a board game, numeracy is essential part of childrens’ everyday life.
Anxiety about maths can cause children to feel panicked or stressed. As well as difficulty in concentrating, physical effects include a raised heart rate and nausea. A phobia of maths can lead to sufferers avoiding situations that make them feel anxious. This may mean putting off homework, disengaging in class and even missing school.
The learning gaps that form from these avoidance strategies can have a long-term impact if they’re not resolved. A lack of confidence in maths can continue into adulthood, affecting career choices and making financial management more difficult. And it can also impact on self-esteem.
Today – Wednesday May 18th – is National Numeracy Day. A day that celebrates numbers and how we use them every day – run by the National Numeracy charity . Their vision is “for everyone in the UK to get on with numbers so they can get on in life.’ They raise awareness, offer skills checks and offer support. You can find out more – and test your skills – here. The charity supports numeracy in schools too.
And if you’re too late to get involved in National Numeracy Day, …why not sign up for Maths Week – taking place this Autumn in the UK. A week devoted to sharing the joy of mathematics with everyone. There are Maths Weeks in England, Scotland and Wales – just google Maths Week + your region for more information.
Maths as a subject is vast and varied. At Elastik, we aim to provide primary and secondary school teachers with the tools that pinpoint where their students have learning gaps – whether it’s properties of shapes in Year 2 or multiplying fractions in Year 8.
Understanding where a child is struggling – and being able to rapidly offer them the support they need – can build confidence and skills. Clever algorithms and data visualisation mean teachers don’t need to be technical wizards either.
Which only leaves the snakes to worry about.