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How Get More Math Reduced Math Anxiety in My Class

April Foster

As a teacher, you know those students who struggle with math, afraid of getting problems wrong or believing they will never understand. Their math anxiety is an obstacle to learning, but we, teachers, don’t always know how to ease their fears. Imagine you are offered a new math software designed to help your students by isolating their mistakes and requiring them to work harder in order to fix their problems. A year ago, I would have doubted that such an approach would turn out well. But Get More Math changed my understanding of math instruction. I was certain that highlighting their incorrect answers would induce a full-blown panic attack in many of my students and raise the anxiety level of the whole class. I was wrong.

I have been a teacher for over 15 years. My specialty has been teaching students who have always struggled with math. Many of my students receive support through disability services, experience test anxiety, or simply tell me that they cannot do math. Contrary to my initial fears, rather than creating more anxiety, Get More Math gave my students confidence that they could actually understand math!
While doing in-class practice, as well as homework, Get More Math gives instant feedback. From using this software, I learned a valuable lesson: It is not getting the problem wrong that causes students’ anxiety, it is the fear of thinking that their efforts will never result in success. Prior to using Get More Math, if one of my students was uncertain of a concept or calculation, they would get stuck second-guessing themselves, and often would not move on to the next problem until they were confident the answer was correct. With Get More Math the students don’t have to second guess if they’ve gotten the problem wrong or right. They know right away. If they get it right, great! If it is wrong, they are required to figure out how to fix it. Regardless, Get More Math eliminates the unknown and allows students to become confident in their math abilities.
There are few things more rewarding for a teacher than watching their students “get it.” In the first year of using Get More Math, I found it to be a great tool for my anxious math students. It allowed them to have peace of mind, knowing that at the end of the day they would get problems correct. The intrinsic reward they experienced by truly understanding math concepts motivated them to put more work into learning!

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