Math Anxiety is a term coined by psychologists and refers to the fear of math that gets instilled in students at a very young age. This holds true for students that are public, private or homeschooled. For most of these students, this fear only increases with time and age and they dread math as they move to high school and college level avoiding the subject as much as possible.
Nationwide statistics shows that math scores have been dropping year after year for all grade levels. Students of this tech savvy generation start to fear math as early as the beginning of middle school level. Being the world leader in science, technology and innovation, this country cannot afford to have its next generation so detached from math. It seems as if unlike other countries such as China and India, the society here as a whole is not laying enough emphasis on the importance of math. Students that perform well in school are considered geeky and “uncool”, adding to the already mounting isolation from math as a subject of choice.
A recent article in the NY Times outlines results of most difficult math competitions for young people, including the American and International Mathematical Olympiads for high school students, and the Putnam Mathematical Competition for college undergraduates. The results show that American students that excel in these competitions are immigrants from other countries. People in countries like India and China still consider math to be imperative for growth, both academically and professionally. It’s no wonder that teachers from India are now teaching students here in the U.S. online. More and more online math tutoring companies are hiring tutors in India to teach U.S. students online. Providing low cost one-on-one tutoring services serves the dual purpose of effectiveness and affordability.
Parents, teachers and educators all around should start emphasizing the importance of math in real life and make learning math easy and fun by providing individual attention whenever possible.