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 Post subject: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:14 pm
Posts: 83
Location: London
DD2 10 is freaking out with maths. She gets into a panic mode, and she is really suffering. But she is doing well, she managed 96% in a bond 9-10 year old test. She was put in the top set at school but asked to be put down in the lower set. Is there anything I could do to help? It is torture for her at the moment. If she could just relax she would be fine. This is maddening. I do not understand it.


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 9:13 pm 
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Maths is often seen as 'right' or 'wrong'.

I try to encourage children to see that when they make a mistake they learn - it's a 'First Attempt In Learning' not a 'fail'.

There is often more than one way to solve a question and confidence is important.


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 6:03 pm 
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Oh no Bazelle, your poor DD. If it is any comfort, we had exactly the same. Don't know which of the following "worked" but we are now on the other side of "I'm rubbish" "I can't do it" etc. The tears of rage, disappointment, anger etc were terrible and we seriously thought of doing nothing and just letting our DD get on with it in the hope that it would all "click" at some unspecified point in the future. Your DD clearly has ability so it may be about confidence as Guess 55 says.

* went back to the basics and did addition and subtraction ten questions a day increasing in difficulty (BTW caused a near meltdown as this was seen as "baby" stuff but we were truly concerned that she knew how to do more difficult things but would make arithmetic errors in carrying them out and so would get the "wrong" answer) - that took about two weeks

* praised endlessly for ten out of ten, calculated how many were attention to detail errors when not a ten out of ten and then set up a chart to show how many were correct and how many were attention to detail to bring the point home

* moved on to multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, decimals and so on using same sort of system - that took about two months in total

* When we were comfortable that her arithmetic was ok, we started doing word problems.

* We split the chart recording scores into: correct and incorrect with incorrect being split into attention to detail; learning gaps (ie hadn't yet been taught this yet or had forgotten); didn't read question properly and finally devilishly difficult (reserved for really tricky exam type questions).

After a while we could see the learning gaps and helped with various texts and websites but the attention to detail and reading the question bit had to come from DD herself. It was painful (and boring...so incredibly boring) but it worked and gradually DD felt more confident.

Looking back I think that it was a case of her trying to run before she could walk and was forgetting the basics. She was never in the highest group for maths but would see those guys completing quickly and accurately and tried to emulate them but couldn't and then went into a real negative state of mind which effectively made things worse as she'd get into a state and wouldn't be listening to the lesson properly and therefore got it all wrong.

Personally I would support your DD going into a different set if it means that she can start to regain her confidence.

Good luck - I hope that some of this helps

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It takes a village to raise a child


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 8:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
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We had this too, a lot with one of my boys , just a little with the other. It's interesting because talking to their year 6 teacher, a maths specialist, he said that both boys are good at maths, but whilst one has a growth mindset (the things I don't understand I just haven't learnt yet), the other is mo of a fixed mindset (I am only 'this' good at maths so if I don't understand IT its because I have reached the top of my ability and will not get any better.). This leads to the frustration and tears and tantrums we experienced. Do go and look at it as a concept, Carol dweck or dwecker does a lot on it on YouTube. I mention it because it's a real eye opener about children who struggle with maths and you can't understnad it because they are perfectly able. What helped us? Not a huge amount. We found it much easier to hand maths teaching over to the teacher rather than doing it in the home environment where he felt able to descend into verbal panic. When we did the schofield and sims at home, which are good if you understnad them, we called it 'malteser maths' and he got a malteser for each question he worked through steadily, with or without my help but without getting cross. Believe it or not this really helped! Only for the second half of year six and now he is in year 7, one of the top few in maths and gets on with it himself. I don't think the frustration has gone, but it is better and if he gets mad, we just get him to leave it and let the teacher talk him through.


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Carol Dweck -

http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_th ... anguage=en


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:14 pm
Posts: 83
Location: London
This growth vs fixed mindset is exactly it I think. I remember vividly one morning when my DCs were asked what they wanted to do when they grow up, and DS1 full of confidence said "astrophysicist". And DD2, then 8, with her fixed mind set could not see that in the future she would have developed more skills, so she answered for now, and said she could be a shop keeper. So revealing.

Now, about 5 min down her talk, Prof Dweck refers to an online maths game that rewards process and efforts rather than results, any idea where we can find this game or something similar?


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 8:19 am 
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Location: Essex
Looking at this thread whilst having a coffee in Waitrose before doing some food shopping. Must remember to tell staff how much better Messrs Waite, Rose (and Taylor) could have done if only they had been possessed of a growth rather than a fixed mindset :lol: . I understand what you are trying to say, I think, but personally I would be quite pleased if one of ours made a go of providing people with the necessities of everyday life.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 8:23 am 
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ToadMum wrote:
Looking at this thread whilst having a coffee in Waitrose before doing some food shopping. Must remember to tell staff how much better Messrs Waite, Rose (and Taylor) could have done if only they had been possessed of a growth rather than a fixed mindset :lol: . I understand what you are trying to say, I think, but personally I would be quite pleased if one of ours made a go of providing people with the necessities of everyday life.



Absolutely and completely agree! The growth vs fixed mindset thing is not, to my mind, anything to do with how high/far/status driven/""""successful""""" you are, but about always feeling that you can learn and improve and build on your skills.

So even though I wa a manager in pharmaceutical sales earning a big salary and all the status, and now I work as an assistant in a works canteen, I tackle both with the mindset of learning new skills and constantly striving to be better at the job, and that goes for any sort of job or learning that you undertake, high or apparently low status.


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 8:50 am 
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I'm sorry you are having a tough tricky time with your DD. We had the same thing last year (she is now in Y6). Although she is predicted Level 6, she is quite a worrier and reckons she won't get it.

I have found her weakeness is being exposed to being right or wrong. For instance if say she has a test and gets 46/50 it's easier for her to compare her marks with her fellow classmates, thus resulting in a constant reminder of being assessed. However she is much more comfortable with English as it's more subjective and I do feel this is more natural for her.

Solution for me anyway, I explain that maths is a right and wrong subject, and tell her not to get too bogged down with that as many of her classmates will also make mistakes, and some will have more of a natural aptitude like she does with English. I also explained that's ts important to get the basics correct and problem solving comes with practise and practise and more practise, and basically maths is about practise, repitition. Her confodence has grown immensely this year due to the fact that she knows she might not always understand a new more difficult topic first time.

Stick with it, sit with her, go over the paper, questions together , I found this invaluable.
I also explained I loved maths at school and had an extremely able father and older brother who would help me when I didn't understand a topic, so getting some help is good. Dolly ***


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 Post subject: Re: Math anxiety
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 10:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:14 pm
Posts: 83
Location: London
it is really difficult to know what to do, i.e. leave her alone and let the school sort it out, or try to help her overcome this fear. Maths is so important IMO, particularly because she likes sciences and IT, and it would be a shame to be put off because of irrational fear of maths. I think this post has been really useful in terms of understanding the concepts of right and wrong and the fixed mind set though, these are definitely things that I could explain to her.

Last year she did a computer based maths tuition after school that really helped her confidence, but it was really expensive, and I thought we could just go through Bond books together instead this year, but this is proving tricky. The compromise would be a paying website for maths, any suggestions?


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