For many students, learning mathematics in school can be a stressful experience. The concepts are new and the material is complex. Furthermore, comprehension of mathematical principles is cumulative in nature, meaning that complete comprehension of fundamental concepts is absolutely critical before comprehension of more advanced concepts can be attempted. Therefore, students that may not have understood early math lessons may feel like they can never “catch up” to the curriculum schedule. However, math does not need to be such a scary subject. In fact, learning math can be enjoyable, because the satisfaction of solving complicated math problems is a satisfaction unlike any other.
The source of math anxiety varies from person to person. For some students, math stress stems from an embarassing situation in a math class, such as the teacher calling on the student to answer a difficult question. When the student struggles and becomes ashamed, a low level of math stress may develop.
Furthermore, in many classrooms, mathematics is taught as a series of formulas and equations. The concepts behind the topics involved are not really addressed fully. When a student only memorizes formulas but does not understand why the formula looks the way it does, it creates a lack of understanding that may manifest as frustration. If the student does not understand how a formula works, that student will often be unable to identify the more complex cases that call for that formula if some of the other conditions are not standard.
Unfortunately, sexism sometimes plays a role in the differences between the development of mathematical abilities between the genders. Throughout history, more men have entered the fields of mathematics, science, and technology. This fact has reinforced within females a tendency to shy away from the study and practice of mathematics.
In order to overcome math anxiety, the student must first acknowledge that he/she has some level of math stress. Next the student must begin working with a tutor to fill in any gaps in comprehension and start to understand more math concepts. Working with a tutor either in person or online is absolutely necessary in order to have direct, one-on-one attention that can help the student reach his/her maximum potential. The most effective way to reduce math stress is for the student to really gain proficiency in mathematics. In order to gain proficiency in mathematics, the student really needs to pursue one-on-one tutoring to strengthen his/her understanding of the mathematical concepts.
Online tutoring has come a long way in recent years. With various advances in Internet technology, it is becoming increasingly easy to conduct online tutoring sessions, in which the tutor and student can interact back and forth in an online classroom. In this classroom, it is possible for the student to share a math problem with the tutor and the tutor can then solve the problem audiovisually for the student. Both tutor and student can talk to each other by using their computer microphone and speakers. The online tutoring experience can be a very productive and helpful one for the student.