Is your aversion to maths getting you down? Do you feel lost during class and feel like your head is going to explode? Do not worry! You are not struggling alone, my friend!

Generally, we tend to think that we are not smart enough if we are not good at math. But this is very far from the truth! Not being good at math could mean that maybe you have a hard time concentrating, that you may not be quick to solve problems under pressure, that you don't like this subject, that you have a hard time staying motivated, or that maybe you are just scared about them. 

On one side of the spectrum, we have math lovers who enjoy all the challenges that math entails. But, on the other, we have all the people that hate maths (that are not a few). As you can see, mathematics is a science of extremes: you either hate it or love it. 

However, what differentiates one type of person from the other? Are there ways to help students overcome their fears and better cope with the anxiety and panic that math causes? Why do some people love them while others entirely fear them?

Let's take a closer look to find these out! But first, let us break the ice a little with exciting facts about Maths! We don't have to be serious all the time!

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"Overcome your Maths phobia in the best way!" Media Library.
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Let's dive into some fun facts about Maths!

Did you know that...?

  • Pythagoras was the first mathematician in history, and he is known as the Father of Mathematics.
  • Negative numbers began to be used in India in the 7th century to indicate existing debts. Since ancient times we can say that we have been wrong in how we manage our money!
  • The geometry has its origins in ancient Egypt and Babylon since they needed to make measurements in the grown to make constructions.
  • The sexagesimal system we use to count the hours, minutes and degrees, was also developed in Babylon. But what geniuses were the Babylonians!
  • The writer of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, was a mathematician. How can life turn, eh?
  • We can find maths everywhere, even in nature. The spiral shapes of sunflowers and other natural patterns follow a Fibonacci sequence, an infinite sequence of natural numbers.
  • If we multiply 111111111 x 111111111, the result is 12345678987654321!
  • We will patiently wait for you to finish calculating this!

Psychology and Math Phobias

Now, let's get back to focus! Imagine you are in class, and your teacher proposes all the students solve a fast Maths quiz. Do you start to feel extreme anxiety, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, and even tremors? Well, my friend, maybe you are suffering from math phobia! You need to know that these are some common symptoms that people with any phobia face every time they deal with their fears.

A phobia is an irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger. In this case, mathematics activates the brain's fear and pain center known as the amygdala, causing avoidance and stress reactions when the feared stimulus and the context accompanying it occurs.

Did you even know that there was a phobia of mathematics? Surprising, right? This type of phobia is called arithmophobia or numerophobia, and it refers to the stress reactions triggered when a person has to deal with calculations. For this reason, people with arithmophobia avoid handling numbers as much as possible. However, avoiding handling numbers as much as possible does not necessarily mean you have a phobia of Maths.

Maths phobia can only be diagnosed by an expert child psychologist when painful emotions paralyze the student while facing something related to maths. And the situation could be even worse if the teacher does not understand how severe this issue can be. An aversion to maths can even provoke a school dropout in the worst scenarios. For this reason, it is always preferable to be informed. These fears can sometimes carry over into adulthood and affect learning!

According to Pathways to Education Canada, 300,000 students are at risk of dropping out of high school each year, maybe not provoked by the fear of maths directly. But still, the question is, do facing the educational system's problems contribute to addressing this?

learn maths through these arithmetic examples
"Get to know everything behind Maths phobia." Media Library.

Causes of Maths phobia

The phobia of mathematics or anything else can originate due to different causes. In this case, we can generally attribute it to aspects related to the teaching-learning process, for example:

  • The pressure that students have to perform well and also to work with a limited time.
  • The low self-esteem and frustration from the students.
  • Poor teaching methods without setting clear examples for the students to practice.
  • An insufficient explanation when showing the solutions to the activities.
  • The existence of aggressive, stressful, irritating characteristics or lack of patience on the part of the teacher.
  • Having a bad relationship between the teacher and students.
  • A tense atmosphere during class.
  • The parents' negative perspective about maths.

These are some of the possible causes that could trigger a fear or anxiety towards mathematics. However, we must emphasize that many factors are involved and that the teacher is not always to blame.

Intelligence and Maths skills

However, we will give you a little light here cause having fear or anxiety of mathematics (or simply not being good at Maths) does not mean that you are not intelligent. In fact, one thing's got nothing to do with the other.

People with great intellectual potential and high achievers could have become avoidants of mathematics or struggle with this type of phobia, even if we all often associate having an ability in maths with intelligence at school. The delineation between "good" and "bad" students is also deeply entrenched in conventional school thinking. As a result, students who lag in maths feel frustration and shame.

Being good at Maths is also considered a selection criterion to access higher education, but this could be unfair for students lacking this ability in the traditional education system.

However, did you know that the best way to address this fear of math is to face it from the hand of a professional therapist? In the meantime, maybe you can start practicing with simple math games. There is nothing better than learning by playing, so let's play some Sudoku!

Find online algebra tutor here on Superprof.

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Laura
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Justin
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Aydin
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Hamid
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5 (105 reviews)
Hamid
$78
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Brendon
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5 (114 reviews)
Brendon
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Laura
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Gurman
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5 (16 reviews)
Gurman
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Alaa
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Let's go

Sudoku: Start beating Maths!

The rules of the game. Complete the Sudoku filled with numbers from 1 to 9, all the cells of the grid.

  • Each row must contain all the numbers from 1 to 9.
  • Each column must have all the numbers from 1 to 9.
  • Each box must contain all the numbers from 1 to 9.
  • Remember that no number can appear more than once in a row, column, or box. When you are ready, feel free to go! It is possible to learn maths while having fun!
2 4 3
9 2 8
6 9 5
1
7 2 5 3 6 8
6
8 2 5
1 9 3
9 8 6

Why is it a good idea to learn Maths?

In our day-to-day life, we will always need basic numerical knowledge, whether for buying a product, paying debts, getting around in public transport, and countless tasks in our daily lives. But besides this, why is it important to learn math?

Here are six good reasons to learn maths and beat your fears!

  1. Developing maths skills will help you develop analytical thinking, which allows you to make connections between isolated events and find the solution to everyday problems.
  2. They enhance your reasoning ability; you become more effective in finding solutions more quickly. You could become the perfect work colleague or even your own boss!
  3. Maths teach you that there is always more than one alternative to solve any problem in life. The most optimistic science!
  4. Did you know that if you have a good knowledge of maths, this can improve learning in other disciplines such as chemistry and physics, among others? Ready for success?
  5. There are many career options for the people that study maths: According to the University of Toronto, some of them are software Development, Consulting Firms, High Tech Manufacturing, Medical Research Organizations, Financial Services & Accounting, Teaching, Insurance, and also having the possibility to work for the Federal, Provincial, Regional, Municipal government.
  6. Did you know that constant math problem solving is a cognitive simulation that can help prevent Alzheimer's and other progressive neurological disorders?

How attractive is everything you can get from good mathematical knowledge! Am I right?

What are the best ways to study maths?
"If you excel in Maths you will have greater professional paths!" Source: Media Library.

Learning styles and Maths success

Math lovers are the first to admit that the traditional educational method for learning maths is inefficient. Most traditional math courses follow the discovery model, then explain some rules, and ultimately, the training.

However, this method generally does not address all types of learning, and since we all learn differently, this can be a problem.

We will review these learning styles so that we can explain what we mean better.

  • Visual: The students with this type of learning retain information better when explained using images, graphs, diagrams, and color. These people need to see the data visually to remember it.
  • Auditory: Students with the auditory learning style find it easier to hear verbal information and assimilate it through the ear. They generally prefer to work in groups and enjoy reading aloud.
  • Reading and writing: This learning style excels by concentrating on easily written words. These students take notes during class and develop a great imagination, creativity, vocabulary, and oral and written expression.
  • Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic students take an active role, are practical, engage all their senses to learn, and physically express themselves. They are restless, have difficulty concentrating, and are easily bored. They learn through trial and error.

Which learning styles are better to learn maths? The learning styles best suited to learning mathematics are generally the Auditory and Reading and Writing since both involve using textbooks, taking more notes effectively, and implementing various memory strategies. However, Maths can surely adapt to each one of the learning styles!

Another point to consider is that students who have different learning styles or are multimodal are generally successful in finding various study strategies that work for them. The wonders of a multitasking mind!

One of the factors that can intervene in the failure of maths is that teachers may teach them inadequately. Sometimes a very traditional authority figure teaches maths without considering the different learning styles of the students, making the subject difficult to learn.

On the other hand, a maths teacher who uses different learning styles can provide students with an ideal learning environment. Students will learn more effectively if the subject is taught with their predominant learning style. Better teacher training can help prevent math phobia!

In addition, students require patience and support from teachers during math lessons. Non-constructive criticism on the part of the teacher can negatively impact the students' self-concept regarding mathematics and hinder their understanding.

But, as we already mentioned, not all the responsibility lies with the teachers. The students are also responsible for their learning. For example, they can complement the lesson at school by applying learning strategies at home. Did you know that going over maths subjects after school is related to higher achievement? You no longer have an excuse not to study on your own!

Also, did you know that learning a complex topic in groups can lead to better performance in any subject? What better way to study than with your friends to help each other succeed?! Exploit your skills altogether!

Find homework help algebra 1 here on Superprof.

Motivate your students to learn maths!
"Stop fearing Maths by knowing how to learn them." Source: Media Library.

How to develop Maths skills?

While some people have a more incredible talent for mathematics, others have a more challenging time. So, how can we develop these mysterious math skills if we were born without them? Learning math is possible for everybody!

Those who are not intimidated by unknown math equations and fractions often claim that they have never had a hard time with math and have been passionate about numbers from a young age.

Everything seems to show that this analytical facility begins with those first riddles in elementary school: "If Peter has ten marbles and loses three, how many marbles does he have left?" Do you remember? So, if your first approaches to mathematics were friendly, we could affirm that till now, you continue to love them and even fearlessly delve deeper into this science.

But what exactly is it that makes people inner mathematicians? Something relatively simple: Mastering mathematics requires synthesizing information, a sense of intuition, and to the surprise of many people, creativity. Wasn't Einstein a great creative dreamer? Here you have the answer!

Do you want to know how to develop more mathematical skills even though you are not a child anymore? Here we show you some tricks!

  1. Improve your attitude towards math: Having a good attitude is key to success in any area of ​​your life. If you do not enjoy math, remember that developing a positive attitude will help you gain more confidence in yourself, completing your tasks more efficiently.
  2. We recommend you learn the basics: First things first, it is essential to handle the basic terms that will help you understand any math problem. For a good learning process, starting from the general to the particular is ideal.
  3. Practice, practice, and more practice: In mathematics, the main thing is to practice what you learn. Do simple exercises where you constantly test your knowledge to reinforce your learning. It's the only way for your brain to find its solutions. Test your mental mathematics skills here.
  4. Solve operations with different strategies: Solving problems in different ways will help your brain establish alternatives when working under pressure.
  5. Bet on private tutoring!

Get inspired by Maths with movies!

Well, this one is another recommendation. Maybe with these movies, you will not learn mathematics as such, but be prepared to let yourself be inspired by this science! A little math science fiction might help you feel more motivated!

  • Hidden Figures: Be inspired by Taraji P. Henson, who plays the African-American mathematician in charge of calculating the trajectories that would put astronaut John Glenn into orbit, along with Octavia Spenser and Janelle Monáe.
  • The Theory of Everything: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in this film that recounts the personal life of Stephen Hawking and the diagnosis of his illness.
  • Moneyball: Brad Pitt and a statistical, mathematical method change the criteria for signing players for professional teams. A Yale economist originally devised the Moneyball method.
  • The Da Vinci Code: This famous film ventures Tom Hanks to discover codes and mysteries belonging to a secret society. The plot is full of mathematical theories!
  • 21 BlackJack: A group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) develops a system to win Black Jack in Las Vegas casinos.
  • A beautiful mind: Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly star in this film that recounts the complex life of economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash.
  • The Imitation Game: Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. A team managed to decipher the Enigma machine used by the Nazi army to send messages between the different fronts during World War II.
  • Interstellar: Joseph Cooper, starring Matthew McConaughey, must go on an interstellar journey and find solutions to climate change. Pure adrenaline!

Also, check out the top ten apps and tools for learning Maths! Another good way to improve! There you go!

"Learn Maths and fall in love with science." Source: Unsplash.

Learn Maths with Superprof!

Mathematics is a discipline that requires effort, regular practice, a lot of training, and a good memory. Although some people can get good grades in other subjects, they can nevertheless freeze when it comes to math, boycotting their learning process.

Some mental blocks related to mathematics are painful memories of teachers who were perhaps very strict, severe, or cold or did not take the time to explain the class better. However, even though you didn't get the math help you needed, it's essential to give it a second chance! Perhaps behind all that fear, there is a mathematical genius who wants to come to light! With the proper school support, you will have nothing to fear! You will see that everything is always more accessible if you approach it from a different point of view.

You can always access a better support system that allows you to understand and fall in love with this fascinating science: Private tutoring!

Having a private tutor in maths will allow you to go little by little through all those topics that you consider complex, help you solve each of the doubts that arise, and practice as many times as you need to. Find your online mathematics tutor!

Some recommendations for you to select your ideal tutor are:

  • A good tutor always values ​​and emphasizes your strengths.
  • Encourage your participation during the lesson.
  • Highlights the efforts you make when trying to solve the exercises.
  • They never punish you or make fun of your mistakes.
  • They are open to listening to your fears and concerns.
  • Set specific study goals.
  • Acknowledge your progress.

But where to find the ideal tutor? Find an excellent private tutor and have fun learning Math with Superprof!

Superprof is an excellent online platform where you can find your ideal private tutor, as well as all kinds of private tutorials! With us, you can decide to review mathematics or other school subjects where you need support, such as chemistry, physics, history, and many others.

And that's not all! In Superprof, you will find personalized classes on all the topics that come to your mind or that cause you curiosity. From learning Mandarin Chinese to drawing lessons, only your mind can set the limits!

Regardless of where you are in Canada, with Superprof, you will find more than 6000 private tutors specialized in maths who can help you overcome maths blockages. For example, get help here for mathematics tutoring in Toronto.

Choose your favorite tutor near you with Superprof, and through face-to-face or online classes, fall in love with mathematics! Your future self will be eternally grateful!

And last but not least, the Sudoku answers are just here! If the game was complex for you, don't be too hard on yourself. You will accomplish everything you want with patience!

8 2 7 1 5 4 3 9 6
9 6 5 3 2 7 1 4 8
3 4 1 6 8 9 7 5 2
5 9 3 4 6 8 2 7 1
4 7 2 5 1 3 6 8 9
6 1 8 9 7 2 4 3 5
7 8 6 2 3 5 9 1 4
1 5 4 7 9 6 8 2 3
2 3 9 8 4 1 5 6 7

Visit Superprof to find an online mathematics tutor right now!

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Jon

As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.