Title: A child with maths anxiety may become a parent or a teacher with maths anxiety
Speaker: Dr Flávia H. Santos
Time: November 11, 2022, 2pm
Abstract: Maths is the basis for the most advanced discoveries in science such as satellites and robotic surgeries. Yet, one rarely thinks that these triumphs were grounded during maths classes in primary and secondary schools. These schooling years will prepare individuals for the workforce, and some of them to apply for a university degree. Recent international large-scale assessments found an average high maths score for Irish students compared with other countries. However, when the students’ distribution across the levels of maths performance was analysed, the percentages of Irish students who succeeded in the most complex items, were lower in comparison with other countries with the same average scores (Pitsia et al., 2022). One possible explanation is that Irish students’ achievement was hampered by maths anxiety. Maths anxiety has been observed globally regardless of the country’s wealth; and higher levels have been reported among Irish students (Perkins & Shiel, 2016).
This article aims to help readers to understand the importance of minimising maths anxiety in home and school environments and to drive the attention of policymakers to the fact that maths anxiety prevalence is shaped by gender and socioeconomic status, among other factors. Because maths anxiety can harm students’ performance, career choices and teachers’ well-being and instruction skills, it must be addressed for the benefit of society and individuals. The article concisely describes maths anxiety and its impact on maths education, good practices in the school environment to mitigate it and showcases a continuous professional development elaborated, under the Arithmós Project, to support teachers to deal with both maths anxiety in students and the anxiety about teaching maths.