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Break masculine image of math and implement better pedagogy to relieve rural girls of math anxiety
My recent visit to a few schools in rural Rajasthan, I was struck with the high level of mathematics (math) anxiety among girls and their poor performance in Class X math paper in the last public examination. Such anxiety often gets built up by doubting one's ability to do mathematics leading to bad performance.

Umpteen studies concerning math anxiety have been done and most of them have shown that negative attitudes concerning math is mainly due the perceptions of parents, gender bias of teachers and bad math pedagogy leading to a strong notion that math is a masculine subject  not meant for girls. Thus, as far as girls are concerned it is bad math pedagogy and negative motivation leading to math anxiety among them.

Since up to Class X, math is compulsory, but at the senior secondary level and in colleges and universities, anxious girls shun math courses and tend to feel negative towards math. The presence of girls in higher math course is minimal.

About five years ago, I had come across a study in the UK that had suggested that despite the gender differences in math anxiety, no gender differences in the overall performance in math exist currently due better methods of teaching.

The study was published in journal 'Behavioral and Brain Functions' and the researchers had observed that classroom fears associated with math often become self-fulfilling. Researchers had found that girls' enhanced math anxiety arose from masculine stereotyping of math or socially constructed gender roles that assign math to the male domain.

In the light of the study, I think, the parents and schools must stop projecting masculine image of math and adopt feminist pedagogy of math instruction. This seems to be the only way to diminish math anxiety among girls, especially in rural areas.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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