Skip to main content

Study: Teachers Instill Fear of Math in Girls

In an attempt to figure out why so many people, particularly girls, have an aversion to math, the "math anxiety of 17 first- and second-grade female teachers was assessed. The math achievement of their students was also assessed. The students attitudes toward particular stereotypes were also logged.

While the beginning of the year showed no connection between the teacher's anxiety and the students, and there was no discrepancy between male and female students. However, the study found that towards the end of the year teachers with high anxiety towards math were found to have influenced both the achievement and stereotypes of their female students. Girls with anxious teachers scored lower than the females with teachers who were more confident about math.

Boys were shown to be immune to their teacher's influence, while girls with more anxious teachers were to confirm the stereotype that girls have less math ability.

While it's an interesting study, it's not fair to say that boys are completely immune. The study only focused on female teachers, so it could be that boys are more susceptible to the math anxiety of male teachers.

Read more on Ars Technica.