Maths anxiety

Maths anxiety can be described as “an emotion that blocks a person’s reasoning ability when confronted with a mathematical situation” and is thought to effect a large proportion of the population.  Given that most students now have to study either maths or statistics as part of their course, it is important to understand the effect of maths anxiety on the brain and that there are a variety of techniques to help overcome it.  The following resources are available to help students and staff become aware of maths anxiety and the strategies to help overcome it.

You are welcome to download and use the resources in any institution but if you could let us know you have used them via this short feedback form, that would be great.  Access the feedback survey here.

Maths anxiety resources
Resource Description Applicable for
Workshop 1

Maths Anxiety workshops for students

The 'Overcoming maths anxiety and succeeding with maths and statistics' workshop is available to all University of Sheffield students and covers the causes, effects and impact of maths anxiety as well as strategies for overcoming anxiety and doing well in maths or statistics.

Date and time Location Register
Tuesday 16th January 2018 1-2pm Flexible workshop space, 301 Student Skills and Development Centre Register here
Thursday 26th April 2018 1-2pm Flexible workshop space, 301 Student Skills and Development Centre Register here

Students of UoS
Workshop 2

Maths Anxiety training workshop for staff

This workshop is aimed at all staff in academic departments whose role includes teaching and/or supporting students. Its aim is to equip you to deal with students who are anxious about using mathematics. It will commence with a discussion of what anxiety is, drawing on past experiences. It will then consider the causes and effects of maths anxiety, and will provide strategies for overcoming maths anxiety and advice for signposting students with maths anxiety.

Date and time Location Register
Thursday 8th March 2018  11-12 Flexible workshop space, 301 Student Skills and Development Centre

Register here

Staff development > supporting the supporters > Identifying and reducing maths anxiety

Staff of UoS
What is maths anxiety? This resource explains the effect of maths anxiety on the brain and ability to learn maths effectively with references for further reading. Anyone
Student strategies for overcoming maths anxiety This resource contains tips and strategies for doing well in maths and stats generally as well as strategies for those who are anxious about maths and stats.  Read the 'What is maths anxiety' resource in addition to this resource. Anyone
Teacher strategies for reducing maths anxiety This resource contains some of the suggested teaching strategies for reducing maths and statistics anxiety and references for further reading. Maths and stats teaching staff
Teaching strategies case study MASH and the Department for Lifelong Learning worked together to implement changes to the learning environment to reduce maths anxiety and engage students with the learning of maths. This resource gives details of the teaching strategies used. Maths and stats teaching staff.

 Publications

Publications by the maths anxiety team
Paper Topic
Attitudes and Anxiousness about maths A survey on maths anxiety and maths attitudes of the University of Sheffield was carried out in 2015 and this paper reports the key results.  Published in MSOR conference proceedings 2016.
Addressing maths anxiety and engaging students with maths within the curriculum This paper discusses the changes made within the maths curriculum of the Foundation maths module in the Department for Lifelong Learning and their impact.  Published in MSOR connections in April 2017.

An effective strategy for reducing maths anxiety is using the individual support that MASH provides.  MASH offers you individual help with maths and statistics all year round if you need help with your lecture notes, coursework, revision or any aspect of your dissertation or research.  We also offer a number of maths, statistics and SPSS workshops.

If you are interested in discussing maths anxiety and suggested strategies further, contact the project lead Ellen Marshall at Sheffield Hallam University (ellen.marshall@shu.ac.uk)