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Where’d you get your math anxiety?

August 14, 2015

Lots of students suffer from math anxiety.

The question is, WHY?

According to some researchers, the answer is clear. Parents, it appears, are passing their own math anxiety on to their children.  Cannon515-690

In her blog post, The Family Roots of Math Anxiety, Education Week reporter Sarah D. Sparks summarizes a series of studies coming out of the University of Chicago.

“Students whose parents reported high math anxiety made significantly less progress in math over the course of a year, and they were more likely to become anxious themselves—but only if their anxious parents sweated through helping them with homework,” Sparks writes.

Fascinating.

But it gets worse.

In some cases, the parents studied were not even actively helping with homework.

According to Sian Beilock, one of the University of Chicago researchers, parents’ comments about math can impact their child’s experience with the subject.

“Our work suggests that if a parent is walking around saying ‘Oh, I don’t like math,’ or ‘This stuff makes me nervous,’ kids pick up on this messaging and it affects their success,” Beilock said.

Read The Family Roots of Math Anxiety.

Read more about The Performance Lab at The University of Chicago.

Cannon School is a JrK – 12 independent school in Concord, NC.

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