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Concern regarding teachers and how they transfer anxiety to some students

A new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science claims female teachers who show an anxiousness in math can share that attitude with female students.

The study was based on 17 first- and second-grade elementary school teachers, along with 52 boys and 65 girls.  At the beginning of the school year, researchers learned boys' and girls' math achievement didn't correlate depending on the attitude of their teacher.  

Boys weren't affected, but girls who began to believe boys are naturally better at math yielded lower grades.

"We are not sure whether it's something overt, whether it's non-verbal behavior or perhaps (teachers are) not spending much time on the subject," said Susan Levine, University of Chicago psychology and human development professor, co-author of the “Female Teachers' Math Anxiety Affects Girls' Math Achievement” study.  "It's not just a teacher's knowledge of the subject, but there' something about their feeling about the discipline."

This is a significant problem since there is a high demand for scientists, engineers and mathematicians, as these are in-demand jobs that help stimulate the economy.  However, men continue to dominate the engineering and IT jobs, and researchers believe it's detrimental to research to "dismiss 50%" of researchers because they are women.

The National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education indicates more than 90% of all elementary school teachers in the U.S. are women -- an inadequate level of mathematics study is required to receive a teaching certificate, which is something that may be addressed in the future.



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By omnicronx on 1/28/2010 11:03:40 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of whether he was lying about testing at a college level or not, I don't see your point.

Grade 7 is not University, at this level there is no wrong way to find an answer for an equation. A correct answer is a correct answer PERIOD!

I also had a similar experience in which the teacher ended up getting fired for telling me I would not get marks unless I showed all my work. Everyone has different learning styles, failing a kid for having a different learning style than that of the teacher is ridiculous. Forcing children to learn a particular way is like forcing left handed children to use their right.

As for mathematics being about rigorous proofs and showing every extra step, I could make a similar claim to pretty much the way every subject is learned in elementary and high school. You are learning the basics, sure if this were grade 12 advanced math, then you should be showing your proofs, but to fail an elementary student because you don't like the way they found the answer is just plain wrong.


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