Math Tutoring Service

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Learning Theory and Mathematics

I am starting work on a project to develop self-study materials to teach mathematics to adults with math anxiety, phobias, or just plain stress. I've recently been looking into methods that involve getting the student into a state of relaxed awareness prior to a session of math awareness. These use music (at about 1 beat/second, such as Baroque music), yogic breathing techniques, or other methods to teach the student to synchronize body and mind and facilitate communication between the two brain hemispheres. Claims for these techniques are astounding. They have mostly been used in teaching language, or other subjects where memory is paramount.

These approaches have been dismissed as pseudoscience by some, but there seems to be quite a lot of evidence that they work. See the "suggestopedia" method of Georgi Lozanov ( or the Institute of HeartMath (

I would love to hear from anyone who has experience in these methods, or in related ones, particularly as applied to mathematics learning.


ellyodd said...

Ever heard of dyscalculia? "Math dyslexia".

Peter Ash said...

Indeed I have. I learned quite a bit about this from Mahesh Sharma, a major figure in the diagnosis of math learning problems. However, I think that dyscalculia affects a much smaller number of people than math anxiety.