Math Anxiety

Out of all the subjects that are taught at school, mathematics can be one of the most frustrating. Many students at some point in their education become overwhelmed by mathematics. This may leave them feeling that their understanding of the concept would be impossible. This feeling, known as math anxiety may be caused by biological factors or because of social values, however, no one know for sure what causes it. Math anxiety is a feeling that can be experienced by anyone. It is experienced by the young and the old of all cultures and ethnicities.

It is possible that some people may be more prone to math anxiety than others. According to Sheila Tobias, a member of the National Organization for Women, females are at higher risk for math anxiety than males are. She believes because statistically, females are drop out of mathematics earlier in their education than males and very few continue to earn a PhD in mathematics. Surprisingly, only 7% of PhDs is mathematics are earned by females. The fact that women are not as successful in math as men are is easy to recognize. The difficulty is in trying to determine the cause of this.

Tobias feels that this math anxiety is a result of the pressures and roles that are forced on women by society. She feels that society has labeled mathematics an unfeminine subject and that because of this, girls are not comfortable applying themselves to mathematics. She says that parents of girls are more likely to accept a girls failure in math and in doing so, deny her of the motivation she needs to succeed. It is possible that the difference between mens and womens mathematic ability is due to a physical, biological factor.

The only differences that develop between males an females are caused by genetics. Genetics play a major role in the physical and behavioral development of all living things. It is possible then, that the sex chromosomes (X and Y) are responsible for the high level of math anxiety in girls. The idea that men s brains are superior to womens is not a new idea at all. This idea has been present since the beginning of history. Only recently has is become unpopular due do feminist movements. It is quite possible that some people are predestined at birth to have poor math skills.

Although many believe that mathematics is above all the most absolute and straight forward of subjects, it can be a very difficult thing for some people to learn. This simple supports the idea that there are limits to what people can learn. Whether or not math anxiety, or history anxiety, or language anxiety are caused by genetic factors or social ones is not important. People must accept the fact that no one can ever be omniscient . We all have our limits. Math anxiety occurs when people, for whatever reasons they have, attempt to overstep those limits.


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