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Math anxiety is a common attribute of many children and adults. It usually happens when a person is unprepared to be tested and when a student becomes frustrated from not knowing how to do mathematic operations. Students experience anxiety at different levels. For some, it may be a feeling of uneasiness and for others, it can consume them with feelings of a panic attack. For some people, just walking into a math class can start the math anxiety cycle. One might think that this only happens to students in public or private schools. However, even home-schooled students report that they have felt anxiety while studying math at home.
Math anxiety can make a person feel as if they are paralyzed. A feeling of panic and paranoia can lead to a lack of confidence and a strong feeling of fear. A student sometimes begins to display passive behavior. The panic feeling discussed in the first paragraph is when the student feels helpless and cannot find a way to get rid of it. Paranoia is when the mind of the student tells the student that he/she will not be able to complete the math work – whether it is easy or difficult math work. Passive behavior is when the student feels as if he will never be able to understand math or feel any level of comfort when working with math.
Therefore, students give up and then put forth no effort. But, probably the most common attribute of math anxiety is the lack of confidence a student feels when math is presented to him/her. When the student expects that he will never know the answer to the question, then he will probably spend most of his efforts in second guessing. Math anxiety is present in every classroom and every teacher wants to know how to get the “Math anxiety monster” out of the room. Once he is gone, math instruction can begin!