Anxiety in Mathematics Learning

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Stanford Professor Jo Boaler says that ‘students most effectively learn “mathfacts” working on problems that they enjoy, rather than through exercisesand drills they fear. Speed pressure, timed testing and blind memorization damage children’s experience of math’.

Anxiety starts early in a child’s life. If a child has a negative early experience in education, that early anxiety snowballs, leading to difficulties in learning key skills and avoidance that only get worse as children get older. However, allowing them to learn through means which are hands-on, fun and familiar can instil self-confidence in a child therefore increasing their ability to learn.  A study from Professor Jo Boaler reflects on the effects of negative experiences in maths for a child.

Here at Learning Resources we pride ourselves on creating inspiring, hands-on, educational resources that are essential to a child’s learning and development. Our resources not only make learning in maths fun for children but they allow children to have concrete experiences in maths to get to grips with the very abstract notions of numbers, the relationships between them and the ways in which they work in the number system. This closely relates to the ‘mastery’ approach for mathematics which the new National Curriculum focuses on, basing itself on the Singapore maths model.


This mastery approach is the idea that children will have an overall deep ‘number sense’ in which it will allow them to apply mathematical knowledge to solve problems. One of the theories that Singapore maths is based on is the work of Bruner (1957). He states a theory that children learn in three basic stages: by handling real objects, then through pictures, and then through symbols. It is essential to a child’s early maths skills to use very hands-on resources to concrete their understanding before progressing on to more complex stages. Piaget’s (1951) work also suggests that children aged seven to ten years old work in primarily concrete ways and that the abstract notions of mathematics may only be accessible to them through embodiment in practical resources.

We have some fantastic new maths resources to support
children’s development of a wide range of maths skills:


Geometric Shapes Building Set


Giant Magnetic Array Set


Smart Snacks®

Puzzle Pies™



Mathematical games are
a resource which are highly motivating to children and, consequently, encourage greater levels of concentration and engagement with mathematics. Games can be used in different ways to consolidate learning, practise skills, explore mathematical relationships and develop problem-solving strategies. One enjoyable aspect of games for children is that they are put into situations where they can control their own learning as there is often no ‘one way’ to solve the problem or reach a winning solution.

Our top picks of Maths Games:


Top Of The Tables! Times Table Game


Shelby’s Snack Shack Game™


Little Banker Coin Matching Game


Jo Moore

Education Expert for Learning