Mathophobia and Learning
The mathophobia endemic in contemporary culture blocks many people from learning anything they recognize as ‘math,’ although they may have no trouble with maethematical knowledge they do not perceive as such.
We shall see time and again that the consequences of mathophobia go far beyond obstructing the learning of mathematics and science. They interact with other endemic ‘cultural toxins,’ for example, with popular theories of aptitudes, to contaminate people’ images of themselves as learners. Difficulty with school math is often the first step of an invasive intellectual process that leads us all to define ourselves as bundles of aptitudes and ineptitudes, as being ‘mathematical’ or ‘not mathematical,’ ‘artistic’ or ‘not artistic,’ ‘musical’ or ‘not musical,’ ‘profound’ or ‘superficial,’ ‘intelligent’ or ‘dumb.’ Thus deficiency becomes identity and learning is transformed from the early child’s free exploration of the world to a chore beset by insecurities and self-imposed restrictions.
- ”Computers for Children” by Seymour Papert
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