The mind of a child perceives math as threatening as poisonous animals. Being exposed to fear in numbers places a child in substantial drawback, not in school performance alone but even in facing adversities and jobs in the future.
Fortunately, new findings show that there is a solution for children with math anxiety. Tutoring in Long Beach does not only teach children, according to the study. It also soothes the part of the brain which triggers anxiety.
The chief author of the study, Vinod Menon, claims that results show that one-on-one tutoring does not only improve cognitive function, it also leads to reduced fear. Menon is a neuroscientist and instructor in Stanford University.
The authors of the research used MRI scans to study a child’s reaction to math. They found out that numbers activate similar neurons that other phobias trigger like fear on insects, serpents and heights. Treatment for these known phobias includes exposure therapy. The aim of the gradual exposure is to resolve the fear to a certain trigger. This made the researchers think if it might work the same for math anxiety.
The respondents of the research were 46 pupils from the third grade. They answered queries about fear of math. They solved math problems while functional MRI visualized their brains. From the results of the tests, the children were grouped in two. One group was believed to have greater fear in math while the second group had lesser anxiety.
Later, the children from the two groups had been tutored with math individually for 2 months.
All of the children improved in math after the tutoring sessions according to Menon. Remarkably, MRI scans of the children who had fear with numbers had their anxiety decrease to 20% after the 2-month lessons.
Menon said the sessions were extremely individual. If a child had a difficulty on a certain lesson, the tutor encouraged the child until the concept became clear.
The authors look forward to another study about on-screen tutoring. They want to find out if it will lead to same benefits and neuron changes. They also want to find out if fear in math stays as children progress to advanced math.