Math Professors Present Research on Calming Anxiety to Enhance Learning

Scott Alberts, a Truman associate professor of mathematics, along with Jane Roads, the chair and professor of mathematics and science at Moberly Area Community College, and therapist Steven Voss, associate professor of psychology at MACC, will present a paper on their collaborative research, “CALM: Calming Anxiety to Learn Mathematics,” during the Faculty Forum at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in Magruder Hall 2001.

“Comparing students at Truman State University and Moberly Area Community College, we find that students at both schools have significant anxieties, but these anxieties vary widely by group and ability level,” Alberts said in describing their research. “Students at both schools understand the importance of learning mathematical ideas, but many face real anxiety in and out of the classroom.”

Their interdisciplinary research has been examining whether ideas from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can be adapted to the mathematics classroom, and whether mathematics teachers can be trained to use these techniques to help their students. CBT involves recognizing destructive and debilitating beliefs then learning to refute them and replace them with constructive beliefs. Their research has been funded by the National Science Foundation as part of Truman’s larger STEP Grant.

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