Published at Friday, 10 May 2019. math worksheet. By Adrianna Giraud.
Dr. Dweck has found that people who have what she calls a “fixed mindset” think that success is based on an innate ability, while people with a “growth mindset” think that success is based on hard work, which means that your abilities are malleable and can always be improved. People with a fixed mindset perceive failure as proof of their limits — obviously they can’t succeed at this. People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that their abilities can improve with hard work, and may interpret a failure as a sign that they should try harder next time. In 2007 a group of researchers including Dr. Dweck studied the math achievement of students with both fixed and growth mindsets at the start of junior high. They found that the students’ scores were comparable at the beginning of the study, but as their coursework became more difficult, the students with a growth mindset showed more persistence and got better grades.
There seem to be two prevailing opinions about math in America. The first is how important it is. We want more kids to be excelling in math and choosing careers in STEM (science technology, engineering and math) topics. But at the same time, many Americans are also quick to say, “I’m terrible at math.” More than any other subject, math is considered something people are either really good at, or really not.
Since we know that people with math anxiety face challenges in their math classes, careers, and everyday lives, many different researchers have worked to learn more about math anxiety. Researchers continue to make progress in this area. Research on math anxiety has shown that it develops early, and that it is related to both social situations and brain processes like working memory. Also, individuals with math anxiety show more brain activation in brain regions involved with negative emotions, and less brain activation in brain regions involved with mathematical thinking. Researchers have also started to test possible interventions that seem to help individuals suffering with math anxiety. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to discover how math anxiety first appears, what causes only some people to have it, and how we can help people who have math anxiety. For now, whether you are experiencing math anxiety or not, talk to your fellow students and your teachers about math anxiety. It is important to have conversations about your emotional reactions to math because this is the first step toward helping to reduce the potentially harmful effects of math anxiety.
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