PERCEPTION OF TEACHERS ON THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF MATHEMATICS ANXIETY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN BAYELSA STATE
1.1 Background of the study
Because most fields rely on mathematical reasoning, mathematics has been regarded as one of the key courses. It is an essential component of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Mathematical knowledge is an important factor in students’ future professional success; as a result, research on teaching and studying mathematics has received a lot of attention over the years (Carter, 2008). According to Foong (1987), mathematics is frequently perceived as difficult, supporting the premise that, rather than teaching the subject’s substance and practices, the primary emphasis should be on students’ experiences with the subject and providing mathematical sense-making opportunities. More specifically, because students’ experiences with mathematics have not been particularly positive, research into the role of mathematics in other fields of study has been ongoing.
issue at tertiary institutions.
According to LeViness (2017), students’ negative math experiences have been linked to anxiety. Little research has been conducted in the context of mathematics education on the relationship between mathematics anxiety, mathematics self-efficacy, and learning approaches among STEM and social science students. Anxiety is generally regarded as a mental health disorder in children and adolescents that must be managed because it can have long-term consequences. Young people are more vulnerable to their surroundings than adults, and they have fewer resources and past experiences to cope with stressful events (Stadler & Walitza, 2021). Stadler and Walitza (2021). People are more affected by stressful events as a result of their feelings of insecurity. Individual, family, or parental risk and resilience factors have an impact on the
the number and ability of children and adolescents to cope (Stadler & Walitza, 2021). Stadler and Walitza (2021).
According to the Child’s Mental Health Report (2018), anxiety disorders affect millions of children and prevent them from reaching their full potential. “We still have a long way to go,” says the study. Anxiety is a gateway disorder that, if left untreated, can lead to depression, school failure, suicide, and drug abuse. Because children are often young when anxiety strikes, they learn to suffer in silence from a young age. Anxiety is characterized by worry, ambiguity issues, an overly reactive reaction to perceived dangers (including freezing), and avoidance. Some young people avoid or become terrified of school topics, events, or items that trigger their phobias, whereas others Others react with rage and terror. This behavior is sometimes misinterpreted as rage or disagreement. Few teachers recognize the significant suffering endured by secondary school students suffering from phobias or social anxiety disorder, and their problems may be attributed to “shyness.” Many young people are unaware that their irrational emotions may be the result of a treatable illness rather than a character flaw. In recent years, health care practitioners have become more aware of young people’s anxiety, with one study indicating a 17 percent increase in anxiety disorder diagnoses (Bitsko, Holbrook, Ghandour, Blumberg, Visser, Perou, & Walkup, 2018). (2018) (Bitsko, Holbrook, Ghandour, Blumberg, Visser, Perou, and Walkup). Teens and their parents are becoming more aware of the significance of anxiety disorders, and they are beginning to advocate for treatment.
for treatment at a level that far surpasses that of a generation before. According to LeViness, Bershad, and Gorman (2017), anxiety is the most common cause of concern in schools. Despite increased awareness, the proportion of adolescents receiving treatment remains the lowest of any major category of mental health problems, far below the population’s anxiety prevalence. Thirty percent of children and adolescents will meet the criteria for anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, but eighty percent will never seek treatment.
Anxiety disorders affect approximately 117 million young people worldwide. Although approximately 10% of children aged 6 to 17 have an anxiety disorder, more than 20% will have functional problems as a result of anxiety in at least one aspect of life by early adulthood (Copeland, Angold, Shanahan,&
2014; Costello). (2014) (Copeland, Angold, Shanahan, & Costello). Anxiety can have an impact on a child’s social and academic performance, as well as other aspects of their life. According to Twenge (2015), secondary school students now report higher levels of anxiety and are twice as likely to seek help from a mental health professional as adolescents in the 1980s. According to LeViness et al. (2017), anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common complaint among secondary school students seeking mental health treatment. He confirmed this assessment, stating that anxiety is the most common concern, followed by stress.
1.2 Problem description
Mathematics anxiety is a psychological issue that is rarely discussed in schools and households. It is a clear issue that exists among secondary school students. and even the universities. Anxiety in mathematics has the potential to lead to poor math performance and overall academic achievement in children. Copeland (2014) demonstrated that psychological variables such as anxiety have an impact on students’ mathematical success. In the mathematical context, it appears that many students who are weak in mathematics are concerned when attempting to apply their math skills to solve problems (Mohamed and Tarmizi, 2010; Arem, 2003; Rahim, 2002; Tobias, 1995). Marsh and Tapia (2002) discovered that students with low levels of math anxiety are more enthused, confident, and motivated to study mathematics than students with high levels of anxiety. Puteh (2002) defines mathematics anxiety as a recurring process that is information-dependent.
People collect information from their surroundings. This knowledge is accumulated and becomes people’s personal experience, which eventually shapes their views on mathematics. The goal of this research is to critically investigate the causes and consequences of mathematics anxiety among secondary school students from the perspective of teachers, and to make beneficial recommendations based on this knowledge.
1.3 The study’s purpose
The following is the study’s primary goal:
i. To assess teachers’ perceptions of the causes of students’ anxiety about mathematics.
ii. To assess teachers’ perceptions of the impact of students’ anxiety toward mathematics.
iii. To investigate teachers’ perceptions of students’ performance in mathematics with regard to anxiety.
1.4 Research Issues
The following inquiries
have been prepared for this investigation:
1. What are teachers’ perspectives on the causes of student anxiety about mathematics?
2. What are teachers’ thoughts on the impact of students’ anxiety about mathematics?
3. What are teachers’ perspectives on student performance in mathematics in terms of anxiety?
1.5 Importance of the research
Anxiety among students is rarely discussed; thus, this research will serve as discussion material, capturing the causes of mathematics anxiety from the students’ perspective. Furthermore, the study will provide teachers with insights into proactive ways to reduce anxiety in students, not just for mathematics but for other core subjects that students find difficult. Finally, this research is an academic contribution.
1.6 The Study’s Scope
The purpose of this study is to assess teachers’ perceptions of the causes of students’ anxiety about mathematics. This study will also assess teachers’ perspectives on the impact of students’ anxiety toward mathematics. This study will delve deeper into teachers’ perspectives on students’ performance in mathematics anxiety. As a result, the study will be limited to a few secondary schools in Bayelsa state.
1.7 Study Restrictions
A number of factors hampered this study, which are as follows:
As with any other research, there are challenges, such as a lack of accurate materials on the topic under study and an inability to obtain data.
The researcher faced financial constraints in obtaining relevant data.
materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires.
Time constraint: Another constraint is time, which makes it difficult for the researcher to shuttle between writing the research and engaging in other academic work.
1.8 Terms Definition
Perception is the understanding and interpretation of a situation, phenomenon, or condition.
Anxiety: A psychological feeling of fear and failure before attempting a task or participating in an event.
Students: A group of people who attend a formal learning environment.