First, I guess I have to say that I love Maths. Admittedly, not enough as to actually major in it, but I love the neatness of numbers and the way we can describe so many things in nature in the condensed form of equations. It’s reason, it’s logic, unencumbered by unnecessary weight of too many words. Now, don’t get me wrong, Maths doesn’t always come easy for me. Its tasks are daunting at times but so are many other tasks as well. I persevere and resulting light-bulb moments of understanding make the frustration (and sometimes tears) totally worth it. It’s like a quest for my brain.
Over the last several months I’ve been reading a lot about the fear of Maths. Folks want to give up on teaching Algebra for kids. People have done some research on the fear of Maths. They found that Maths anxiety actually causes people to feel physical pain, or something like that. It makes sense that anxiety causes physical unpleasantness, I know it only too well myself. What I don’t understand, I guess, is why Maths is singled out of all possible school subjects which may cause anxiety. Yes, after reading and writing, Maths is probably the next most important subject in our daily lives – numbers are everywhere, and all. I wonder, why reading doesn’t seem to cause much anxiety in people. Maybe it’s the actual thinking that’s always involved in Maths (reading becomes sort of automatic after you get it). I wonder if researchers asked their subjects to perform a logical thinking task that’s formed in words instead of numbers, would the outcome be different?
Also, I wonder why I don’t hear about these things in my home country. Maybe we’re still feeling the remnants of the Soviet Union repression when, it seems, it was forbidden to talk about pretty much anything of consequence. And yet, the kids go to school, study Maths and other stuff, some are better at it than others, but no one seems to make a big deal out of it when someone finds it difficult and needs to put in a lot of work to learn the Math.
I wonder why so many people succumb to the Maths anxiety so badly. Maybe it’s an actual disorder like social anxiety or something, when one can’t possibly fight it. I’m glad I don’t have it.
I’m off to battle things that make me scared and anxious because I don’t like giving up, fear cuts deeper than swords*,
*I’ve been working my way through Game of Thrones, I can feel a new obsession coming on.