How good are you at maths? Some people love the challenge of algebra or enjoy working out number puzzles such as Sudoko. Maths is all around us, from working out how to split the bill after a meal, to calculating your household bills. But many dread the moment when they have to deal with numbers and figures and feel a real sense of worry and confusion. It can seem daunting, but this ‘maths anxiety’ is perfectly normal, and you’re definitely not alone. And anyway, our worries and fears don’t necessarily reflect our ability.

The problem really starts in childhood, at school. Research has found that maths teachers who are nervous about teaching the subject can pass on their anxiety to the pupils, and girls may be more likely to be affected. The Programme for International Student Assessment found around 31% of 15 and 16-year-olds across 34 countries said they got very nervous doing maths problems, 33% said they got tense doing maths homework, and nearly 60% said they worried maths classes would be difficult. Shulamit Kahn, from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, told the BBC she believes giving students, particularly girls, good role models “is critical, especially at a young age”. She thinks the key is to get people, especially women, who love teaching maths to younger children.

Writing for BBC Future, David Robson says “It’s not clear why maths arouses so much fear compared to geography. But the fact that there’s a right or wrong answer – there’s no room for bluffing – might make you more worried about underperforming.” And once we assume we’re not a ‘maths person’, we avoid solving things that we probably could do.

Psychologists have been trying to work out why mental arithmetic can bring us out in a sweat. That seed of fear may come from many sources, but some suggest that articulating your fears can loosen their hold on you, and encourage children to see a maths test as a challenge, not a threat. Ideally, we need to think positively about maths and give it a second chance.

词汇表

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测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. When does maths anxiety really begin?

2. What can happen if teachers are nervous about teaching maths?

3. True or false? If we don’t like maths, we are unable to solve mathematical problems.

4. How should children view a maths test?

5. What does Shulamit Kahn think should be done to help children enjoy maths?

2. 选择意思恰当的单词或词组来完成下列句子。

1. According to my _______, we’ve actually made a profit this year.

algebra figures ability solving

2. You can’t afford to pay for us both so let’s _______.

split the bill spilt the bill splits the bill split my bill

3. I’ve _______ how much you owe me for the shopping – it’s 20 pounds!

calculated bluffing solved puzzled

4. Climbing the mountain was a real _______, but it was worth it when I got to the top.

ability role model challenge nervous

5. I am useless at _______, so I always use a calculator.

mentals arithmetic mental arithmetics

arithmetic mental mental arithmetic

答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. When does maths anxiety really begin? The problem really starts in childhood, at school.

2. What can happen if teachers are nervous about teaching maths? Maths teachers who are nervous about teaching the subject can pass on their anxiety to the pupils.

3. True or false? If we don’t like maths, we are unable to solve mathematical problems. False. We assume if we’re not a ‘maths person’, we avoid solving things that we probably could do.

4. How should children view a maths test? Children should be encouraged to see a maths test as a challenge, not a threat.

5. What does Shulamit Kahn think should be done to help children enjoy maths? She thinks the key is to get people, especially women who love maths, teaching younger children.

2. 选择意思恰当的单词或词组来完成下列句子。

1. According to my figures, we’ve actually made a profit this year.

2. You can’t afford to pay for us both so let’s split the bill.

3. I’ve calculated how much you owe me for the shopping – it’s 20 pounds!

4. Climbing the mountain was a real challenge, but it was worth it when I got to the top.

5. I am useless at mental arithmetic, so I always use a calculator.