Overcoming the fear of mathematics

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Pupils from Kgononyane and Naledi high schools writing matric maths were told that numbers are not to be feared.

Kgononyane, in Ganyesa, North West, and Naledi in Soweto, Gauteng, were among schools across South Africa whose matriculants received theoretical and practical tips to conquer the fear of maths.

Workshops were conducted by, among others, the Siyandisa Study Support Initiative for the Teach Children to Save, a corporate social investment and responsibility initiative of the Banking Association SA and the SA Savings Institute.

Kgononyane and Naledi, together with Soweto's Tladi Ithemba Institute of Technology, are among the youth development projects of Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

Siyandisa's workshop facilitator told pupils at Kgononyane and Naledi: "Maths is just like any other subject. Give it the same attention and you will achieve your desired successes."

Essentially, the study support initiative arms pupils (and teachers) who treat maths as a taboo subject with the following information:

l We have three types of maths fear - namely realistic, moral and neurotic;

l Be willing to admit the fear;

l Consider that it might not be maths that scares you, but what failure would mean to you in your life;

l Face up to your fear, then put it aside so you can concentrate on your work;

l Your body cannot sustain high levels of anxiety for more than a few minutes. So persist, refuse to retreat or give up, and in a few minutes you will find that the fear will subside;

l Remember that each time you retreat or give up from any fearful situation, you lose an opportunity to exercise a coping skill;

l If you don't understand, ask for help from teachers, friends, colleagues or family;

l Keep learning, practising and revising until it does not faze you;

l And, above all, remain assertive and fear will be surmountable.