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Elementary school teachers often face a significant challenge when it comes to teaching math: their own discomfort with numbers. 

The Hechinger Report recently hosted a live event for people to learn more about efforts to solve this problem. The conversation included commentary from Lisa Ginet, director of program design and operations at the Erikson Institute; Heather Peske, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality; and Ivory McCormick, a first grade teacher at The Galloway School in Atlanta.

As our early childhood reporter Ariel Gilreath recently reported, elementary school teachers often struggle with teaching this subject. In her story, Gilreath writes: “Decades of research shows that math anxiety is a common problem for adults, and surveys show it particularly affects women, who make up nearly 90 percent of elementary teachers in the United States. Put simply, a lot of elementary school educators hate the prospect of teaching math, even when the math concepts are beginner level.”

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The story about math anxiety is part of The Math Problem, an ongoing series about math instruction. The series is a collaboration with the Education Reporting Collaborative, a coalition of eight newsrooms that includes, The Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning News, The Hechinger Report, Idaho Education News, The Post and Courier in South Carolina, and The Seattle Times.

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  1. My father wasn’t super affectionate but one way he encouraged me was to take as many math and science classes as possible. Don’t say I can’t do math because I am a girl. Not an equal opportunity type attitude he just said you will use it the rest of your life.
    I have worked in restaurants for 30 years and MATH IS HUGE! Most people don’t put math into practical application terms. Every time you receive a tip ot leave a tip a percentage is used. Cut a lemon into quarters or thirds. That is math. Pour a drink…number of ounces–ratio. We use ratios on a regular basis.
    When you understand concepts and practical everyday use math isn’t scary! Every housekeeper uses math. How many minutes until dinner or until the load of laundry goes from washer to dryer?
    If you made story problems real people wouldn’t be so scared! Show kids how to budget… “Old school.”
    I work with teens and adults and have taught percentage, ratio, savings/budgets, how to make change or use a calculator at the very least. Teach a kid how to cook. Their math skills will improve too. Make math fun!😁 just my opinion 🙂

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