Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in this interview— we look forward to your valuable insight! 😊
Why do you think mathematics should be studied?
Mathematics creates problem solvers. It develops the ability to be able to try something, fail, and try again. By developing Mathematical skills, you create the confidence to deal with a tricky problem, and know you can solve it if you just stop and breathe. Too many people have anxiety about Mathematics and as soon as they see that they need to do Maths, they shut off, even if it is something they can do and understand.
What is your earliest or most prominent memory of being excited by math? Did you have a role model?
My earliest memory of maths is in primary school doing my multiplication squares (which we did every morning) and then moving onto multiplying with fractions. Another memory from that time was when I was the first in the class to place blocks back into the shape of a square or cube. Both of these built my confidence in Maths and my excitement for problem solving.
Why do you believe mathematical anxiety is so widespread, and what can we do to fix it?
Everyone realises that Maths is important. There is a lot of pressure and stigma around Mathematics. It can be built up into this thing that you can either do or not do, and people get a fixed mindset about it. I think we need to take the pressure off, allow students to enjoy Maths and play with it. To focus less on grades and more on making small changes to build confidence. As a society, we need to move away from using grades to define our ability and encourage perseverance and persistence.
Any final words to aspiring mathematicians out there?
Keep persevering! Challenge yourself to try things that you feel you might not be able to do; push yourself out of your comfort zone. It is only by making mistakes and being okay with these that you will truly be able to learn.