Should we fear maths? 我們有必要害怕數學嗎?

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並非人人都喜歡或懂得數學。自上學起,不少人就開始害怕這門科目,並且從未克服這種感覺。究竟是什麼讓我們對數字產生恐懼?怎樣才能戰勝這種心理?聽 「隨身英語」 節目探討人們懼怕數學的原因和改變這種心態的方法。

詞彙:maths 數學

How good are you at maths? Some people love the challenge of algebra or enjoy working out number puzzles such as Sudoko. Maths is all around us, from working out how to split the bill after a meal, to calculating your household bills. But many dread the moment when they have to deal with numbers and figures and feel a real sense of worry and confusion. It can seem daunting, but this 『maths anxiety』 is perfectly normal, and you’re definitely not alone. And anyway, our worries and fears don’t necessarily reflect our ability.

The problem really starts in childhood, at school. Research has found that maths teachers who are nervous about teaching the subject can pass on their anxiety to the pupils, and girls may be more likely to be affected. The Programme for International Student Assessment found around 31% of 15 and 16-year-olds across 34 countries said they got very nervous doing maths problems, 33% said they got tense doing maths homework, and nearly 60% said they worried maths classes would be difficult. Shulamit Kahn, from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, told the BBC she believes giving students, particularly girls, good role models 「is critical, especially at a young age」. She thinks the key is to get people, especially women, who love teaching maths to younger children.

Writing for BBC Future, David Robson says 「It’s not clear why maths arouses so much fear compared to geography. But the fact that there’s a right or wrong answer – there’s no room for bluffing – might make you more worried about underperforming.」 And once we assume we’re not a 『maths person’, we avoid solving things that we probably could do.

Psychologists have been trying to work out why mental arithmetic can bring us out in a sweat. That seed of fear may come from many sources, but some suggest that articulating your fears can loosen their hold on you, and encourage children to see a maths test as a challenge, not a threat. Ideally, we need to think positively about maths and give it a second chance.

詞彙表

algebra 代數
puzzle 謎題,智力遊戲
Sudoko 數獨遊戲
split the bill 分攤費用
calculate 計算
figures 數字
maths anxiety 數學焦慮症
ability 能力
nervous 緊張的,擔憂的
problem 習題,問題
homework 家庭作業
role model 榜樣
bluff 矇混過關
underperform 表現不佳
solve 解決
mental arithmetic 心算
articulate 清楚表達
challenge 挑戰
a second chance 第二次機會

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. When does maths anxiety really begin?

2. What can happen if teachers are nervous about teaching maths?

3. True or false? If we don’t like maths, we are unable to solve mathematical problems.

4. How should children view a maths test?

5. What does Shulamit Kahn think should be done to help children enjoy maths?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. According to my _______, we’ve actually made a profit this year.

algebra                       figures                         ability                       solving

2. You can’t afford to pay for us both so let’s _______.

split the bill                 spilt the bill                  splits the bill             split my bill

3. I’ve _______ how much you owe me for the shopping – it’s 20 pounds!

calculated                   bluffing                        solved                       puzzled

4. Climbing the mountain was a real _______, but it was worth it when I got to the top.

ability                          role model                   challenge                  nervous

5. I am useless at _______, so I always use a calculator.

mentals arithmetic                                          mental arithmetics

arithmetic mental                                            mental arithmetic

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。 

1. When does maths anxiety really begin?
The problem really starts in childhood, at school.

2. What can happen if teachers are nervous about teaching maths?
Maths teachers who are nervous about teaching the subject can pass on their anxiety to the pupils.

3. True or false? If we don’t like maths, we are unable to solve mathematical problems.
False. We assume if we’re not a 『maths person’, we avoid solving things that we probably could do.

4. How should children view a maths test?
Children should be encouraged to see a maths test as a challenge, not a threat.

5. What does Shulamit Kahn think should be done to help children enjoy maths?
She thinks the key is to get people, especially women who love maths, teaching younger children.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. According to my figures, we’ve actually made a profit this year.

2. You can’t afford to pay for us both so let’s split the bill.

3. I’ve calculated how much you owe me for the shopping – it’s 20 pounds!

4. Climbing the mountain was a real challenge, but it was worth it when I got to the top.

5. I am useless at mental arithmetic, so I always use a calculator.