In any subject, students can suffer from anxiety, whether from new topics, a disappointing test result or worry over forthcoming exams. To reduce anxiety here are a few suggestions and strategies that might help:
Try to reflect with your child on positive successes in mathematics. Remind them of times when they have had praise from their Maths teacher or a positive post-card or letter; or when they have achieved a good mark in a test.
Challenge negative or unhelpful feelings
Try to stop negative comments about mathematics. Comments such as ‘I was not good at maths at school’ or ‘maths is hard’ are unhelpful and reinforce negative stereotypes. Try to be positive about your experience of Maths. Almost everyone is born with the ability to do some maths and everyone is capable of increasing their mathematical knowledge.
Improve self confidence
Encourage a ‘Can-do’ attitude to the work. Saying “I can’t” stops the brain from even reading a question. Encourage your child to say “I can do this with some help” or “I can do this with some more practice”. I would recommend that you sit with your child and watch the videos on the Hegarty Maths web site.
Encourage your child to come to maths lunchtime support and revision after school. Can older brothers or sisters give 1 to 1 tuition that could be very helpful?
Discuss with your child how to reduce anxiety. Breathing techniques such as breathing out for 7 seconds and in for 5 or any similar methods suggested for reducing stress anxiety generally can help. Playing calming music or having a stress ball are other strategies to reduce stress.
Here are a few helpful tips for your child
- Start revision early so there is sufficient time to re-visit topics.
- Practise what you have learnt in class each week so that you have better recall.
- Try to understand rather than memorise. Understanding leads to better recall and application.
- Use online materials to support learning. As well as Hegarty Maths, we recommend ‘Maths Genie’ and ‘OnMaths’ for KS4 classes.
- Talk to an adult about how things are going.