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A significant number of students are known to have mathematics anxiety (Johnston-Wilder et al 2014). When such students begin to specialise, they may deliberately choose courses to keep mathematical content to a minimum or seek to avoid it altogether. Nevertheless, many courses employ more mathematics than expected, requiring students to apply mathematical thinking or mathematical ideas in their work, and this can often result in significant distress. Typically students feel alone in facing such issues as mathematics anxiety. In previous work, we used the term ‘mathematical resilience’ to describe the positive stance towards mathematics that enables learners to overcome barriers and set-backs that can be part of learning mathematics. In this paper, we present and discuss the outcomes of a course in ‘peer coaching for mathematical resilience’ for students who have chosen not to take courses with explicit mathematics, but who continue to encounter mathematics within other subjects. \ud Mathematical resilience can be engineered by a strategic and explicit focus on the culture of learning mathematics within both formal and informal learning environments. Such a culture can be engineered by using coaches specifically trained to support emergent resilience. We aimed to develop a group of peer coaches in school, who support each other and their peers to develop mathematical resilience. Coaches for mathematical resilience develop a culture of ‘can do’ mathematics which works to counter the prevalent culture of mathematics helplessness and mathematics anxiety in the general population. The coaches are not required to know the answer but rather to know ways that might yield an understanding of the mathematical ideas involved which thus leads to an answer.\ud A previous paper described the development, pilot and outcomes of the level 1 Coaching for Mathematical Resilience course, in which participants were adult trainers, mostly maths-anxious, working in an apprenticeship context. This paper discusses the outcomes of the same course for a group of 5 school students (Sept to Nov 2014), who volunteered to become ‘peer coaches for mathematical resilience’ in school. The course provided a safe and collaborative working environment in which the school students learned to manage their own reactions to mathematical ideas, to explore choices and to reflect on how to support someone else to find the resources to overcome their own barriers to learning mathematics. The data confirm that once a school student has begun to develop their own personal mathematical resilience, they can successfully coach themselves and others to manage their anxiety and develop as resilient learners and users of mathematics. Learner outcomes improved noticeably as a result.
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