The Loh Down On Science

Math Anxiety

Alamy / telegraph.co.uk

Parents, scared of math?  Whoa, Nelly:  You may be passing that fear on to your kids!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. 

Math anxiety is alive and well, for both children and adults.  But some kids suffer from it more than others.  Why?  Their parents!  So says a group of University of Chicago researchers.  

They studied almost five-hundred first- and second-graders—And their parents.  

They found that kids whose parents were anxious about math homework learned less math.  The kids also developed math anxiety themselves.  The caveat?  This only happened if parents often helped the children with their math homework.  Kids whose parents didn’t help with math homework?  No link between math achievement and anxiety!  

The researchers’ previous work also found that teachers can be guilty of passing on math anxiety to their students.  The group proposes developing math books, games, and apps that let both children and parents experience math in a positive way.  

For anxious parents?  By positive, that means, from a distance!  At least three rooms away, thank goodness!


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