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## Math Anxiety and Its Negative Implications

What is math anxiety? There are many definitions to this, but to keep it simple I would define it as an emotionally unpleasant feeling inside a person that will hinder the learning process. Everyone has a certain amount of it but differs in how it is handled.

Why is anxiety in math higher than in other subjects? This may be because the answer to a math question is straightforward in nature. This is a simple correct or incorrect; direct exposure to that subject’s weakness or strength. This is not the case for others, such as literature, where the answer is mostly open-ended and subjective in nature.

This math anxiety causes a person to dislike math because the guilt of not solving a math question causes them to lose their self-esteem and pride. He may feel isolated by others. This bad feeling spirals further and further reduces his chances of succeeding in math. With the deterioration of math performance, his attitude towards math learning rapidly deteriorates and may reach a stage where he ultimately cannot perform simple math calculations.

This anxiety would therefore hinder his learning of mathematics and leave him helpless, fearful and worried. For him, there is no longer any pleasure in learning mathematics. What will he do next? Avoid math by all means!

Avoiding math is a backward step and it will reveal its ugly face as the person moves forward in life. For example, he may be in a disadvantaged position when applying for a job. With the growing demands of work industries, avoiding math is definitely detrimental. Mathematics is seen by many employers as the ability to think logically in order to solve a set of real-life problems and is the skill needed to do any job well.

Avoiding math due to math anxiety has an additional negative effect. It is scary in all subjects related to mathematics, whether it is statistical control studies (need to manipulate raw data), computer programming (calculation of numbers by software) or simple technical writing (dimensioning of geometry). Skill learning will be slowed down.

Therefore, to conclude, even though learning math is different from other subjects, it can be fun and interesting if failure can be accepted as part of learning. It will turn scary math anxiety into constructive learning with a change of attitude. Love math and math will love you.

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