Female teachers pass math anxiety to girls

This is a very interesting piece of research, and I personally believe in this "effect": that a teacher's attitude towards math can easily be passed on to his/her students.

In this case, all the teachers studied were elementary and female. I figure the same could happen with male teachers too, affecting boys, if the teacher feared and/or disliked math. It's just a lot less likely because most elementary teachers are female, and also because math anxiety is more common among females.

Girls may learn math anxiety from female teachers

The article also points to the best solution: the elementary teachers need trained much better in math so they can teach it confidently, including teaching the concepts and the 'why's of math.



Elsewhere:
Girls inheriting math anxiety from female teachers? at Casting Out Nines

Comments

buy carta r4i said…
Girls have long embraced the stereotype that they're not supposed to be good at math. It seems they may be getting the idea from a surprising source their female elementary school teachers.
EVERY MAN said…
No one is disputing that the sexes are distinct biologically, but sociologists have shown that many behavoirs and roles we associate with sex vary fromculture to culture, and they are therefore culturally determined. Furthermore, statements like, "Boys are better at math," may be biologically true on a general basis, but it does not follow that every boy is automatically better than every girl at math. Gender also places value on the sex differences, which biology does not, obviously. To continue the math example, it may be true that biology has given the male brain an advantage in mathematical and spatial intelligence, but the value we place on male forms of thinking over female forms of thinking is societal, and caught up with gender. Everyone is encouraging girls to excel in math and science, but very few people seem to be concerned that boys aren't so interested in foreign languages sciences or literature. For some reason AMERICA feels the need to oppress boys problems.. and make a big deal of girls. IF THE FEMALE TEACHERS ARE NOT TEACHING RIGHT DOESNT THAT MEAN THERE WOULD ALSO BE A DIP IN BOYS RESULTS AND GRADES?? Couldnt it also mean that Females may be skating by in college and not really learning how to be teachers?
Maria Miller said…
Every Man,
My guess is that the material in 1st and 2nd grade in math is so easy that the teachers might have managed to teach it correctly for the most part, or perhaps the parents also helped at home. BUT, a teacher can teach material AND at the same time show a negative attitude towards the material, or make statements that allude to the "math anxiety" he or she has... If it's a she, this research shows that girls pick up on these attitudes more than boys.
Anonymous said…
MARIA MILLER THIS STUDY WAS DONE USING 52 BOYS AND 65 GIRLS WITH 17 TEACHERS? IF YOU FOLLOW STUDYS AS SMALL AS THIS ONE AND TAKE THEM AS TRUTH , YOU BELIEVE IN ANYTHING THE MEDIA THROWS AT YOU.


Studies have shown that girls have just as much math ability as boys." Stop this politically slanted, feel-good propaganda. Over 98% of 'the studies' show a universal pattern across nearly all cultures, ethnicities and races of a consistent, average, male advantage in math. They also show a wider range of male scores, at the top & bottom, with female scores clustered in the center, which explains the over 10 to 1 ratio of males to females at the elite end of math achievement, as well as the low end of mental retardation. That the LA Times chooses among the 2% of studies that don't show a male advantage in math to support a PC point is no surprise. 'The studies', along with our own eyes, also show sharp male advantages in physics, chemistry, computer programming, inventing, engineering, mechanics, spatial relations, driving, flying, map reading, orienteering and much more. But these differences are also due to anxiety in female teachers, right? Talk about specious logic!
EVERYMAN said…
Id like to see what you would say about this, when I was a child All I heard was that girls are more mature then boys, EVERY teacher every parent it was a general tope. Does that mean that boys growing up think they dont have to mature cause society already has misleaded them to believe they will never be as mature as a woman?
Maria Miller said…
Anonymous,
this study was measuring students' attitudes and not only their skills.

It said "But by the end of the year, the more anxious teachers were about their own math skills, the more likely their female students - but not the boys - were to agree that "boys are good at math and girls are good at reading." In addition, the girls who answered that way scored lower on math tests than either the classes' boys or the girls who had not developed a belief in the stereotype, the researchers found.

I personally believe that men may indeed have an advantage over women in some things (and women over men in others), but when girls have such an attitude towards math, it is sure to hinder them from learning even basic math.

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