Maths Anxiety Myth or Truth?

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

According to Verywellmind to have a fear of numbers is known as arithmophobia. It is also sometimes called numerophobia. It is classified as an anxiety disorder. Children as young as six years old are now being diagnosed with maths anxiety. So what exactly does this mean?

My daughter Lucinda is super smart (her words) and well educated with a BA and Masters degree. Having travelled the world and written for national papers , she is the first to confess that she cannot do maths. Or so she thinks. After years of tears, tantrums and being afraid to ask for help, the thought of algebra makes her feel nauseous and stupid (again her words). Since finishing her GCSE - in which she achieved a C grade - she promised herself she would never ever do a maths problem again. Unfortunately, she soon realised that life is not quite as easy as that and maths is everywhere. There were soon tears again when she recently had to organise expenses for a work trip and was overwhelmed with all the figures and numbers on the spreadsheet. However, despite my offer to do the process for her my daughter is not one to give up (proud Mum) and once she had calmed down she was determined to do it herself. I am pleased to say she succeeded. She may have won that battle but the war continues.

Although new research is linking maths anxiety to genetics and inherited phobias this is clearly not the case in my family. My daughter is the only one with this fear and if she believed in herself and had spoken out about her struggles at school she would have achieved not only a better grade but would now be more comfortable with numbers. So what is the solution for students today? Class sizes are large and quite often it is impossible for a teacher to ensure that every student is able to learn at their own pace. For those struggling they need someone to take them through each topic at a slower pace, instilling confidence along the way.

That is why extra tuition is so important, either through a school or externally. Learning in smaller groups or one to one offers students an environment that focuses on their individual needs and gives them a voice to seek help - something my daughter felt she did not have.

Be brave, face your fears and sign up for maths tuition.

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