Girls might learn math anxiety from female teachers

Having a female teacher who is anxious about math might reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls.
Having a female teacher who is anxious about math might reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls.

Young girls might learn to fear math from the women who are their earliest teachers, new research suggests.

Despite gains in recent years, women still trail men in some areas of math achievement, and the question of why has provoked controversy. Now, a study of first- and second-graders suggests what might be part of the answer: Female elementary school teachers who are concerned about their own math skills could be passing that concern along to the girls they teach.

Young students tend to model themselves after adults of the same sex, and having a female teacher who is anxious about math might reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls, explained Sian L. Beilock, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Chicago.…Read More