Can't do maths-understanding students' maths anxiety

N. Metje*, H. L. Frank, P. Croft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The number of students continuing with their mathematics education post GCSE level has declined in recent years and hence students entering Engineering degrees are reducing. The University of Birmingham recognized this problem and introduced the Suite of Technology programme (STP) which no longer requires students to have A-level mathematics. Therefore lecturers at university are now faced with teaching A-level mathematics in order to give the students the mathematical skills for their technology degree. With little experience of teaching at this level, lecturers frequently face the challenge of choosing the most appropriate level for a lecture that encourages students to engage with and learn a subject that they are novices in. It turned out that some students have a mathematics anxiety and hence the biggest challenge for a lecturer is supporting the students overcoming this fear of mathematics. Choosing the appropriate starting level for any lecture and the fear of mathematics was acknowledged during a peer learning group meeting as part of the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE) at the University of Birmingham. In order to explore this further, a session of mathematics was taught by a Civil Engineering lecturer to fellow peers who do not have an engineering background. This article describes the mathematics teaching session, reflections from the lecturer and the learners, and the impact that this had on teaching mathematics to undergraduates. Further, the article explores the difficulties and challenges experienced by lecturers when teachingmathematics as a service subject.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalTeaching Mathematics and its Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Education


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