Indeed, many people dismiss maths anxiety as yet another invented middle class disorder to go alongside dyslexia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder. But it has affected generations of otherwise intelligent people, people of all ages from all backgrounds, who go to any lengths to avoid anything that involves the use of maths.
Maths anxiety can be defined as a lack of mathematical competence, combined with a dislike and/or fear of the subject.
Equally, research over the past thirty years has shown that maths anxiety can be defined as ‘steadily growing maths panic, culminating in maths shutdown’.
If there is lack of comprehension in the time allowed or absence from a number of lessons, such students can start to fall behind their peers and unease starts to develop. When a person becomes increasingly anxious, intrusive thoughts start to take up space in their working memory. The less space there is, it becomes more difficult to work things out, particularly in numbers and sequencing.
Worse, anxiety reinforces itself, so people who are anxious about their inability to do maths become more anxious and retreat further and further from any situation involving any maths. In short, they become prisoners of their own concerns
Eventually a total maths shutdown can occur. The mind has created an automatic block on most things mathematic and for millions of people throughout the world, this very often continues for the rest of their lives.
However, Val Constable now believes she has a solution. The ConquerMaths software puts the maths into the student’s own hands and leaves them to it. Audio-visual tutorials comprising the essential elements of each Key Stage 3 and 4 lessons are delivered via the Internet allowing a student to catch up in any area they personally need - in private. This method of teaching dissipates the anxiety blocks and gradually allows learning to take place once more.
When the student is in control, the fear begins to go away. And when the student can take as much time as he/she likes, pausing and re-winding as needed….results and feedback are startling and dramatic.
As Val says, “We’ve studied the effects of maths anxiety on individuals, and it is from that knowledge that we have been able to develop the ConquerMaths program which helps maths anxious people to overcome this problem.”