The effects of math anxiety
Math learning disabilities, like dyscalculia, can interfere with a child's ability to gain basic life skills, like managing time and money.
They can also prevent children from growing up to pursue math and science related careers, even when they could be good at it if they got additional assistance.
Understandably, children who are predisposed to math difficulties will face math anxiety. How can they get past this barrier?
One-on-one improves performance
A recent Stanford research study found that one-on-one tutoring may be a lifesaver for students with math anxiety.
In the study, 30 third grade children were split two groups. One group had learning difficulties, and participated in eight weeks of one-on-one tutoring in basic arithmetic skills. The other group, the control group, only had traditional classroom teaching as usual. Both were subjected to MRI brain scans afterwards to see how their brains acted.
The study found that cognitive tutoring not only helps with numerical problem solving, but it also improves math performance in general!
How tutoring affects the brain
According to the MRI, certain areas of the brain are stimulated when working with a one-on-one tutor, as opposed to the traditional classroom setting.
Essentially, the children who had math learning difficulties showed more improvement after they received one-on-one tutoring. Even better -- the areas of the brain showing abnormalities have the ability to be developed and improved. These findings suggest that tutoring can improve the root of math learning disabilities.
The study by the Stanford research group also showed a reduction in math related anxiety. Researchers hope to learn whether the normalization of brain activity is a permanent or a temporary fix.
A personal story
You don't need to immediately go out and hire a tutor to benefit from this, though! As a teacher and parent, I have tried this at home.
I have three kids--two in elementary and one in junior high, all scholastically different. When I work with them collectively on math, it becomes overwhelming for all of us, and homework time takes twice as long! I would suggest take 20 minutes and focus on one child and one task. Give the child your complete attention, and guide them through their homework or learning task.
I started setting up home work time as one-on-one, and my children's homework is competed with less performance anxiety and stress!
If you or someone you know is having difficulty with math, then you’ll want to try our free assessment. Find out which micro-skills need strengthening and increase learning ability by taking our free assessment here!
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