The fear of Math is a phenomenon that is known as Math Phobia in clinical terms. Sometimes we feel that the world ought to be divided into two parts- Those who don’t like Math and those who dislike Math!
For the longest time, I resisted the movie Life of Pi because I thought it had something to do with numbers! Seriously, I could never understand the ‘WHY’ behind wasting good paper and ink to do those mind boggling sums.
By class 3, I had learnt the maths which today, I actually use in everyday life. Everything learnt thereafter (absolutely unused) is still residing as a trauma in some dormant part of my head!
I dream of theorems sometimes and often wake up kicking, screaming and crying☺
But unless the Indian education system wakes up and smells the coffee, we are stuck. And when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
So, what are the ways out that can change our relationships with these numbers? Some of them we suggest are as follows:-
- ACKNOWLEDGEMENT : Like all other fears, the first step to outgrow the fear is to acknowledge it.
So when you find that someone is afraid of the subject, take the first step by writing down the reasons, which are actually making you feel afraid. There are studies that show that writing down worries before exams basically helps in the performance during the exam, the reason being, the cause of worry is already identified.
- MAKING IT SIMPLE : Make an effort to make the numbers relatable to yourself. life. So, take up small but meaningful exercises that deal with numbers or calculations, so that you no longer feel unacquainted with the basic concept of calculations. Once this is in place, the fear will also gradually subside.
- CONCEPT : Examine the concept in great detail and with oodles of patience. INVEST time and energies here.
- PRACTICE : Get your stationery in gear, earmark the sums to be attempted (say 10) and set a TIMER for say 15 mins (you may get a time estimate from your teacher, coach or senior)
- GRADE : Once you finish those sums, mark your answers. Self appraisal always helps you to determine where you stand among crowd. Four days of consistent practice in a week will reflect in a more confident and effective you.
- LEARNING FROM MISTAKES : Learn from the mistakes you commit while learning. Never reproach yourself when you make an error. You may have to repeat yourself several times, but remember, these multiple times explanation will help you to understand the basics in a much better manner and keep yourself in good stead in future Math classes.
Finally, practice is the best and most effective way to do away with the fear of Math and also improve in the subject.
There are innumerable instances that show that practicing Math help the kids to improve their performance and at the same time also develop a genuine interest in the subject, so much so, some kids even end up deciding that this the subject that they wish to take up in their high school and college.
But at the onset, make sure that you do not dump the exercise of practicing Math drudgery. Make the exercise interesting, engaging and rewarding. Appreciate correct answers and do not reproach mistakes.
We sincerely hope that the above helps you to kindle the Mathematician in you