Reduce maths anxiety with explicit teaching

Filling the pail

A colleague is teaching Year 12 maths methods next year for the first time since the introduction of the new course. As part of the process, I sent her through the materials that we had created for the 2017 course. She spotted a potential flaw. “There needs to be more examples with literal terms in them. The sooner students see these, the better, because they find them hard.” She was right and we have added in examples of this kind.

In discussing this issue, my colleague and I both implicitly grasped an important point; early exposure to these examples would ultimately lead to a more positive emotional response to these kinds of questions. I don’t think anyone has ever articulated this reasoning to me and so I’ve probably picked it up through experience, both as a teacher and a student. It seems obvious to me that being left to struggle…

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