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Thinking

Reducing Math Anxiety: What Can Teachers Do?

We’ve written about math anxiety on this blog before—how it can be brought on by early negative math experiences and, more recently, its link to genetic factors. Research says math anxiety can lead to a decrease in working memory and that girls taught by a female teacher with high math anxiety are more likely to endorse gender-related stereotypes about math ability. (The same is not true for boys.)

But what does all this mean for the math classroom? What can teachers do to combat math anxiety, whether or not they have it themselves?

Psychology professors Sian L. Beilock of the University of Chicago and Daniel T. Willingham of the University of Virginia have some ideas. Writing in the latest issue of American Educator, a publication by the American Federation of Teachers, they offer recommendations based on their research, including:

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By Liana Heiten