Fasten your seat belts for the flight from mathematics & statistics anxiety to keen interest!
A. Imagine students sitting in mathematics or statistics classes because they do not have any choice; it is a requirement imposed by their chosen degree programmes. They are enrolled on a range of undergraduate degree programmes which require mathematical and statistical applications. They have successfully completed A-level mathematics or equivalent.
About 78% of students feel confused, frustrated and unable to engage which may lead to anxiety, irrespective of their academic abilities. This anxiety is mainly associated with apprehension and fear of underperforming in examinations. Such lack of student engagement due to anxiety is a matter of serious concern because it can have an adverse impact on students’ confidence, their academic performance and their future career choices.
B. Now imagine students sitting in the same mathematics or statistics class where almost 100% of them are engaging by active participation in discussions. They are actively participating and enthusiastically engrossed with application problem questions. They report enjoying their learning experience, becoming interested in the subjects, performing better and their confidence levels are rising.
This is exactly what happened in my teaching rooms and beyond i.e. transformation from situation A into B.
My student-led instruction method developed during my longitudinal research helped me achieve this amazing transformation.
My interdisciplinary research is about communicating mathematics and statistics to non-specialist university students by addressing their subject related anxiety.
Feeling absolutely energised by my research findings, I presented a conference proposal to the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) which led to the IMA’s first international mathematics education conference “Barriers and Enablers to Learning Maths: Enhancing Learning and Teaching for All Learners” in June 2015. I co-chaired the scientific committee of this highly successful conference which was attended by 75 delegates from the UK and overseas.
My vision is increasing educators’ awareness about barriers to student engagement with mathematics and statistics; developing a global community of educators willing to align their teaching approaches with the wide ranging learning needs of students as a result of their academic as well as cultural diversity. This would make mathematics and statistics more accessible, widen student engagement as well as participation and promote inclusive education.
I have been deeply engrossed in my research driven activities focused on achieving this vision and continue to develop as well as publish my research in peer-reviewed journals.
I am excited about the impact of my collaborations on the mathematics/statistics education community in the UK as well as overseas and would like to continue working on these, widening their scope.
To be continued…!