Math, Anxiety, Avoidance, requirements, numeracy, quantitative literacy


This paper is an informal, personal account of how we, as two college teachers, became interested in math anxiety, decided to explore it amongst students at our institution in order to inform our teaching, and became convinced that the massive problem is math avoidance. We tried discussion groups, but few students attended, although those that did made useful suggestions. Thus informed, we designed an innovative course, Confronting College Mathematics as a Humanities course with the possibility of credit toward the math requirement, but it was undersubscribed in its first offering and had to be canceled. How can we get college students who avoid math to break through the barrier of math avoidance? We have now begun to explore a new approach: Second Life, where students can engage math—and quantitative literacy—virtually, and anonymously.



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