Beilock, S. L., & Willingham, D. T. (2014). Math anxiety: can teachers help students reduce it? American Educator., 38(2), 28-34. Retrieved April 16, 2017
Levi, M. (2016, May 24). Schrödinger’s equation and “bike tracks” — A connection. Journal of Geometry and Physics, 115, 124-130. doi:10.1016/j.geomphys.2016.05.003
Waples, J. A. (2016, December). Building emotional rapport with students in statistics courses. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 2(4), 285-293. doi:10.1037/stl0000071
Speech 3 write-up
Who here likes Math?
Who here thinks they have Math Anxiety?
Well I am sorry to tell you, but you will never be able to avoid math. As Shakuntala Devi, the “human computer” once said, “Without Mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is Mathematics. Everything around you is numbers”. To many of us, including myself, math anxiety affects us, often in negative ways. Math anxiety can cause detrimental effects to our learning and our outcomes as students. So what exactly is Math Anxiety? How does it affect us? And Why?
Point 1: Math Anxiety:
To begin, let me first draw a picture.
[Draw Harmonic Curve, with axis and labels] (From Math Professor Mark Levi)
[Talk about path of bicycle, with front wheel and rear wheel]
What do you see? Rather how are you feeling?
According to the American Educator Journal, Math Anxiety is defined to be the feeling of anxiousness, nervousness, and fear with the onset occurring in the presence of some mathematical concept or tool or problem. The journal also reports that approximately half of the populous suffer from some degree of math anxiety. They believe that onset of math anxiety begins at an early age, usually in elementary school. One theory is that people who suffer from Math anxiety are usually bad at math in general and that they feel insecure about their math skills, so they don’t engage with full effort to try to learn math. However, the journal disproves this theory by citing people such as myself. People who are proficient in math and perhaps above average than the common person. They found that this group of people when presented with a higher level of mathematical thinking or concept that they struggled with often led them to disproportionately disengage with the material than compared to average math anxious people. The journal attributes this phenomenon to perspective of the student. A math anxious student of lesser talents usually think mentally that they’re not able to grasp math concepts so they disengage from it. They believe they can’t “get it” so why bother trying. While proficient math anxious students feel that they can and should be able to grasp math concepts, but if presented with a difficult enough concept of issue they usually begin questioning their math proficiency and become more anxious and insecure about their ability and usually they don’t feel anxious about it. So to them it’s an entirely new feeling, which is why they are found to disproportionately become more anxious about math than their lesser math talented peers.
Point 2 How/Why/Effects of Math Anxiety and how to alleviate it:
So now we know what Math Anxiety is and how it affects us. Math Anxiety can be detrimental to our education in it. It effects students all the way to even college, the journal of scholarship of teaching and learning reports that undergrads in Statistics courses who reported math anxiety did more poorly than there non-math anxious peers. One way to alleviate math anxiety is to try to engage the students on a more personal connection to the concepts or material. Easier said than done. But perhaps there is a way. Statistics is one division of math with lots of real world application, but it is a tool. How I connect with Statistics is that when I see a report, I tell myself “every one matters” [explain this more]. Statistics is a very difficult to grasp division of Math, but I connect to it and see on a personal level. Perhaps if we look for the connections of math to ourselves or life, we can become more willing to learn it and thus our anxiety fades.
So, Math anxiety is a very real and very detrimental phenomenon. Some people have stopped trying to learn it altogether, but many avoid it as much as they can. But like Shakuntala Devi said, “math is everywhere”. So let me show you a simple but profound math result.
[Prove 1= 0.99999…]
Math is indeed a very complex subject, but it is no means that much different from other subjects. We all question our abilities and feel insecure about some subject, so why not find some way to alleviate our anxiety. We all deserve it.
- My views on reading Rendall’s book “an Ocean of Air” is that it entails the complexity of individual and team efforts. I was surprised that there was such a complex system of teams where there is one individual that is, shall we say, “destined to win” and that they often had many lesser”servants” to bike through the air breaking its resistance and replenishing the person destined to win with water and nourishment throughout the race.
- When I think of a team I belonged to, I think of my high school percussion ensemble. The relationship of individual and group was, like cycling, very complex. I as an individual had the duty of playing my musical parts and performing, but as a group we needed to play together, in time, and with high performance quality. The only times I recall sacrificing my own benefit for the group was when we cut music parts and I lost perhaps sections and parts that I enjoyed or liked playing. But my percussion group helped me a lot when we rehearsed and played together. As a team, we ranked every year in our regional circuit and class.
- One of the Places Byrne mentions in the chapter on Istanbul is his hotel that he stayed at the Pera Palas Hotel. Byrne calls the hotel as “slightly- run down” but in the days of the Orient express it was the “height of Elegence”. Looking into this hotel and its website I perceive it as a very elegant hotel and by the images and reviews many people enjoy staying at the hotel. I don’t think it is at all “run-down” and in fact it is still retaining its elegance from the Oriental Express period.
- My overall reaction to Byrne’s chapter on Istanbul is that I am unsure how to feel. He writes about a lot of event happening in the city and the country of Turkey from the Topkapi Palace, to his hotel called Pera Palace. The image of Istanbul he paints in my perspective is that it is an old city that has changed throughout the course of centuries, but still retains much of its history and culture. From the museums, to the palaces and the districts and neighborhoods, Byrne views Istanbul as a changing city that is currently on the divide of the western influences of pop music and capitalism and culture versus the more traditional and often pious eastern ends.
From the Class Thursday, I made progress on finding a topic to present about. I am thinking of informing the class about cycling and Mathematics, or the Romanticism of Cycling culture. Most of the work time I looked up sources regarding the listed topics, but as of now I am still indecisive of what to speak about. Mathematics is by itself a very difficult topic to explain and clarify and the Romanticism of Cycling is extremely complex. Nonetheless, they are topics worth explanation and presentation.
After watching Duarte’s speech, I understand her model of what makes a good presentation. However, I don’t buy into the idea that any great presentation or story fits into some standard model. I see good presentations and stories as more abstract than models. In a way, an abstract is arguably another kind of model, but I think only certain presentations fits into different models with varying degrees of accuracy or success. Duarte claims that her model can map countless famous addresses and presentations, but to what degree. Will it be as accurate as MLK’s “I have a Dream” or Job’s reveal of the Iphone. I believe it cannot be done. In fact, I believe no structured model will ever map a great speech with flawless accuracy. Which is why I see speech structures as abstract; they change, and adapt and will fit into some models and not others.