Sunday, May 17, 2009

Math Student's Bill of Rights, by Sandra L. Davis

I have the right to:

Learn at my own pace and not feel stupid if I'm slower than others,

Ask whatever questions I have,

Need extra help,

Ask my teacher for help,

Say I don't understand,

Not understand,

Feel good about myself regardless of my math abilities,

Not base my self-worth on my math skills,

View myself as capable of learning math,

Evaluate my math teachers and how they teach,


Be treated as a competent adult,

Dislike math,

Define success in my own terms.

Adapted from the Math Anxiety Bill of Rights by Sandra Davis, in Resource Manual for Counselors/Math Instructors: Math Anxiety, Math Avoidance, Reentry Mathematics, ed. by Donaday & Auslander (1980).

I put this into my syllabus for all my lower level classes. I also have it on my office wall.

I tell students that schools aren't always the best way to learn math, because they can make it pretty hard to learn at your own pace, if the course is paced faster than you need to learn it.


  1. pretty good.
    i'd sign off on it.
    here's a substantial subset
    of overcoming math anxiety.

  2. I have about 5 copies of that book in my office, to lend to students. :>

  3. I used to have a Student Rights page on Natural Math. It's not there anymore, but the Way Back Machine has it:

    I used to get comments on it through email. The most frequent comment was, "You should add the right to go to the bathroom at any time."

    It made me so depressed!

  4. I hear you! Some of the kids at Wildcat ask if they can go to the bathroom. I find that shocking. I do want them to let me know, but the asking for permission seems so wrong...

  5. it makes me happy to think that some math classes have this kind of open spirit about them. :) I never found them, but good to know they're out there!

    Nice job, teach!

  6. Ever heard of dyscalculia? "Math dyslexia". Check out


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