Why Do Students fear Maths?
Does your child fear math like most students? Studies show that the working memory of students are affected even from as early an age as six because of anxiety over Mathematics. Some of the symptoms of math anxiety include nervousness and panic at the thought of math tests, loneliness, insecurity, a feeling of stagnancy, and ‘numerophobia’ or ‘arithmophobia’, which is a constant and unreasonable fear for numbers, all of which ultimately lead to a strong aversion for numbers, algebra, and quantitative figures in the minds of young children. These fears can hamper the cognitive development of students, which manifests in behavioural deterioration too. The conventional education system of today adopts a mechanical system of learning mathematics, which stresses on mere calculations rather than emphasizing on the enhancement of the analytical and problem-solving skills of the learner. Both teachers and parents fail to understand the importance of interest or enjoyment in the process of education, as a result of which, children have been conditioned to follow a teleological or result-oriented approach. Today, mathematics is treated like any other subject, where children are compelled to memorise facts and figures instead of developing a strong understanding of fundamental concepts and principles.
In a recent interview, the first Fields medalist from India, Anjum Bhargava stresses on the importance of teaching mathematics through fun and interactive games and activities incorporating puzzles, magic, and music to evoke interest in the minds of young learners. A professor at Princeton University, Bhargava observes how the Indian education system ingrains a sense of fear for mathematics in children because of its stress on rote-learning even in imparting a subject like Mathematics. Similarly, he accentuates on the need to go back to our traditional education system of holistic development through inclusion of arts in the learning of science and vice versa. This can only be done through a cultural revamping of the Indian education system, where the teachers are given freedom to go beyond the prescribed textbooks and innovate new techniques that would spark an interest in students, leading to creative outputs.
Mathematics being an abstract subject does not have rigid or fixed norms or techniques of solving problems. Therefore, students must be able to perceive and visualize concepts from everyday activities and experiences and be able to relate them with Mathematics. This goes on to prove how mathematics cannot be handled like other theoretical subjects, but can only be solved through the practical application of the relevant body of concepts and theories. Similarly, we know that the left side of brain is responsible for all the logical and analytical skills required especially in science and mathematics, whereas the right side handles the creative aspect and imagination involved in the study of arts. But what we fail to recognise is that an understanding of analogies inherent in the activation of the right brain can lead to a better understanding of concepts. Thus, a constant switching between both brains is essential to produce a propitious reaction to solving maths.
At Chrysaalis, we aim to equip young children with a problem-solving mindset that can boost their confidence and grasping power through our i-Maths curriculum, which blends fun and learning through interactive classes. Our intensive program for children between the ages of 3 and 7 comprises of games and sessions that hone the thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills of children, thereby leading to a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of mathematics. By substituting the pen and paper assessment employed by most schools, we seek to create a lively, fun, and creative environment, which is conducive to making children think independently, while also instilling a passion for solving puzzles and arithmetic problems.