This is the P2PU Archive. If you want the current site, go to!

Psychology of Math Learning

This course is complete. Subscribe to the announcement list for updates.
Psychology of Math Learning course photo

Psychology of Math Learning

Carol Cross's picture
Course organiser: Carol Cross
About the Course Organiser: 

My name is Carol Cross.  I have a Masters Degree in Education and over 20 years in curriculum development, teaching, implementing instructional technology, and educational program planning and management. I've taught classes in all areas of the curriculum for groups ranging from preschool through college and in adult continuing education and professional development. I've studied, led classes and workshops, and have been using in my own educational projects such psychological theories as personality type, learning modalities, and gender difference for over 15 years. While I've participated in a number of online classes and seminars, this will be my first time teaching one.   

Originally from the Washington DC area (via London), I now live in Cary, North Carolina with my husband and our son. I enjoy art, museums, music, theater, and movies; hanging out with friends; practicing spiritual principles (my undergraduate degree was in philosophy); reading; and teaching and learning. And, by the way, I was one of those students for who math was neither fun nor easy.  

No of Seats: 
Course Status: 


Carol Cross's picture
Chuck Anifow's picture
Naveen Kumar P's picture
Sarah B's picture
Brylie Oxley's picture
Craig Siulinski's picture
fredericka amekuedi's picture
Charles Tanton's picture
Seema Naik's picture
Jesus Ruiz's picture
Jonathan Crabtree's picture
Janice Coleman's picture
Kurt Myrmel's picture
Luis Pinto's picture
Maria Droujkova's picture
Michael  Moreno's picture
Nayab A's picture
Oula Abu-Amsha's picture
Sean Mathagasinghe's picture
Reginaldo Mora's picture
Theresa Choe's picture
Valerie Wilcox's picture
Can psychological theories such as personality style help explain why some students take naturally to math while others struggle?


  More than almost any other discipline, mathematics can cause real angst for those students who just "don't get it" (have you ever heard of "history anxiety" or "art anxiety"?). But why do some students find math to be a fun, natural, and creative discipline, while others struggle and just can't seem to figure it out, no matter how hard they work on it? To answer this question, educators tend to focus on the "nurture" factors, such as the parents' abilities and feelings about math, whether the student lives in a math-rich environment, the quality of the math teachers, or the type of curriculum followed. But in this class, we'll be exploring the "nature" side of the question. We will look at psychological theories, such as personality style, learning style, and gender differences, to see if they can illuminate why some of us think math is joy, while for others it seems more like a nightmare.

Learning objectives

The objectives of this course are:

  • to learn some basics about psychological theories such as personality styles, learning modalities, and gender differences;
  • to assess our own styles within these theories and consider whether they had an influence on our experience with math;
  • to share our assessment with each other to see if we can find any general trends that relate specific psychological traits to math success or failure.



1st timer for any course on

Seema Naik's picture
Seema Naik
Fri, 2011-01-14 06:28

1st timer for any course on P2Pu, curious as to the workings. Could you elaborate as to what you mean by "class"? Was wondering about it with reference to difference in time zones (I live in India). I am really interested in this course "Psychology of Math Learning" from the teachings I would get regarding Psychology. The workings of a human mind are fascinating to me. Looking forward to pursuing a full time course in Counseling Psychology and think this course could be a good beginning.

First timers on P2PU and

Ajay Kumar Raja's picture
Ajay Kumar Raja
Sun, 2011-01-16 00:33

First timers on P2PU and wondering about schedule. Will classes be live? Will my homeschooled child be able to audit the class with me? He's passionate about both math and psychology. Thanks.

While I am not a teacher, I

Jim Murphy's picture
Jim Murphy
Fri, 2011-01-28 04:14

While I am not a teacher, I cannot tell you how glad I am to see this course posted. As a self-described math idiot, I have always been curious to learn what factors influenced that, especially since I am a software developer who loves working with marketing analytics - I clearly have the intellectual curiosity of a mathematician, but cannot do computation to save my life. Perhaps part of the problem with students not embracing math is that as a society we've defined math too narrowly (as computation only), and in turn lost student's interest. I visited Florence, Italy this last Summer and learned about the differences between Roman art and Florentine art and how Florentine art's perfect proportions and under drawings were behind many of the masterpieces we know today. Why was that never covered in my geometry classes? Kudos to you guys for beginning to explore this. Jim