Society's Calculation Error: The Effects of Social Stigmas in the Secondary Mathmatics Classroom
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Research has shown that all too often there is a significant drop in interest in mathematics at the secondary level, grades 7-12. This is an alarming issue for a world growing ever more technology dependent, as the mathematics and other sciences take center stage among the skills employers need. While this drop is due to numerous factors, many of these reasons stem from the school community in which the students are immersed in, and the social stigmas that come with it. These stigmas promote an environment where it is a positive trait to be bad at math, and a negative trait to be more than average at it. Students desire to fit into this school community drives them to purposely stop trying in math, often even when they have a natural aptitude for it. In this paper I have examined three categories of these mathematical social stigmas, the fact that students have been told that it is socially acceptable to be bad at mathematics, gender issues in mathematics, and labels such as “Geek” or “Nerd”. With these social stigmas I have also offered solutions for both teachers and society as a whole.