A Toolkit for Teachers and Learners, Parents, Carers and Support Staff: Improving Mathematical Safeguarding and Building Resilience to Increase Effectiveness of Teaching and Learning Mathematics

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DOI: 10.4236/ce.2020.118104    874 Downloads   2,454 Views  Citations

ABSTRACT

Mathematics anxiety is a longstanding, prevalent, global problem, and the scholarly literature demonstrates that it has significant consequences for both individuals and wider society. However, to date, there has been no simple, comprehensive, practical approach available to teachers, support staff, parents/carers and learners to address the issue. In this paper, previous work and existing approaches to addressing mathematics anxiety are reviewed; underlying concepts are examined, such as psychological safeguarding in the context of mathematics education and the distinction between the learner’s psychological states of challenge and threat. Agency is important for the well-being of learners and those who support them; an argument is made for an original approach to improving mathematical safeguarding and building mathematical resilience that involves increasing agency. This new approach brings three recognisable tools into a toolkit designed to be accessible to teachers, learners, parents/carers and support staff. The three tools are all individually well-established in specialised practice; they are: the hand model of the brain; the relaxation response and the growth zone model. It is argued that these tools are particularly well suited to addressing mathematics anxiety, that they are complementary and that together they form an effective and accessible toolkit. Details from small-scale studies are shared and it is concluded that this approach warrants further research to properly establish efficacy.

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Johnston-Wilder, S. , Baker, J. , McCracken, A. and Msimanga, A. (2020) A Toolkit for Teachers and Learners, Parents, Carers and Support Staff: Improving Mathematical Safeguarding and Building Resilience to Increase Effectiveness of Teaching and Learning Mathematics. Creative Education, 11, 1418-1441. doi: 10.4236/ce.2020.118104.

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