We Alleviate Math Anxiety

Quantity. Place values. Carrying. Borrowing. Estimating. Math fluency is rooted in these concepts and can be significant obstacles for students identified with dyscalculia. Such mathematical struggles can impact students across multiple subject areas and well into their personal lives. Trident Academy recognizes that students may struggle with a variety of math concepts and approaches math instruction accordingly.


As the National Center for Learning Disabilities points out, “disabilities involving math vary greatly. So, the effects they have on a person’s development can vary just as much.” At Trident Academy, seven instructors provide differentiated instruction to eight different groups of Lower School students, based on the various level of math aptitude among the students.

Pairing students based on their ability level allows teachers to provide more individualized instruction. As such, students may receive instruction that is a grade (or two) higher or lower than where they are otherwise placed.

Trident Academy teachers use the Math-U-See program which teaches math facts in a way that reduces even the most severe math anxiety. “The program is as sequentialed, multi-sensory, and individualized as the Orton-Gillingham approach we subscribe to,” says Judy Fell, Language Enrichment and Development (LEAD) instructor. “This type of instructional approach is what our school was built on.”

Math-U-See follows four steps: students build and solve an equation, write the equation, verbalize the thought process, and teach the process back to the instructor. In using this approach, students see how math works. Though, our teachers admit to being a little liberal in requiring the students to teach the process back to them. “Our population of students tends to struggle with expressive language,” says Barbara Waterstradt, primary school teacher.

Families were invited to learn about the Math-U-See program at a special Parent Training night in September. Those who attended were given homework: to remind their children to use their strategies instead of finger counting; to let their child to work out the problem on their own and to intervene only when necessary; and to remind their child that word problems are puzzles they will encounter in real life.

To learn more about our math instruction, contact Nicole McLain, program director at nmclain@tridentacademy.com or 843.884.7046.

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