One would wonder what would a child of tender age, as old as six will to have worry about. But not only do they have things to worry about, young children also suffer from anxiety, that’s caused by mathematics. This condition can cause physical symptoms and behaviour problems in class.
The research study that studied this phenomenon said “mathematics anxiety” was a real concern as it has a direct impact over children’s learning. They also point out it may be contributing to a growing maths crisis in the UK, where the level of adult numeracy is relatively low and getting worse.
According to the Nuffield Foundation report, Understanding MathematicsAnxiety, the proportion of adults with functional maths skills equivalent to a GCSE grade C has fallen from 26% in 2003 to 22% in 2011. In contrast, functional literacy skills are steadily increasing, with 57% of working-age adults gaining the equivalent level.
The co-author of the study, Dr. Ros McLellan said that maths anxiety is an emotional reaction. He says children wouldn’t want to go to school if they have a maths class. He adds, “We had some young people saying: ‘I get so frustrated, I end up hitting the desk,’ and then they get themselves into bother. If we know what is at the bottom of the problem rather than addressing the symptoms we can address the root cause.”
“The experiences of maths anxiety are multifaceted, with students expressing emotions from rage to despair,” the report says.
It warns teachers and parents that their own anxieties about maths might have a negative influence and so urges them to tackle these first. It also urges policymakers to be conscious that emotional blocks can affect learning potential.