Female elementary school teachers may project a fear of math onto their female students, causing them to do poorly in the subject, according to a new study, "Female Teachers' Math Anxiety Impacts Girls' Math Achievement," published by the University of Chicago in January.
With over 90 percent of elementary school teachers being female, this finding has brought attention to gender roles within elementary education. Sian Beilock, associate professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, conducted this study in a Midwestern school district and surveyed teachers and students in first- and second-grade classrooms over the course of one year.
A series of tests revealed all the teachers involved had a significant level of anxiety while doing math, and as a result, while teaching it in the classroom. "We need to make sure we're preparing our teachers to effectively teach and portray positive attitudes in the classroom," Beilock says.