Jump to navigation
Attitudes towards mathematics: exploring beliefs shared by elementary students
Elizabeth Anne Eyford (author)Peter MacMillan (Thesis advisor)University of Northern British Columbia (Degree granting institution)
Master of Education (MEd)
Number of pages in document: 149
Mathematics education has long dealt with negative attitudes which may be based on or can create misconceptions, myths, phobias, and anxiety. A cultural norm of negative dispositions has developed to include beliefs that genetics and gender influence learning. Attention to the affective domain is essential to gauge current dispositions. The intent of this study is to explore and compare the beliefs held by a sample of adults and students in School District #28 (Quesnel). The survey queried thoughts on self-efficacy as math learners, an enjoyment of doing math, and a willingness to engage mathematics. Results show that student self-efficacy is high. Despite this, the negative and neutral attitudes towards learning mathematics continue to be powerful. Most participants continue to experience frustration and too many suffer embarrassment. Analysis revealed interesting trends such as the stronger positive attitudes held by girls in this sample or the general reluctance of all students regarding mathematics in high school and in the workplace. Descriptive statistics show that the only significant difference can be found on seven items between genders. Of interest are the strong student results that virtually dismiss the existence of the misconceptions of gender and genetic influences on ability that are still held by many adults. Recommendations include: developing awareness of learning styles specific to mathematics learning, increasing teacher awareness regarding the continuum of math skills, challenging educators to make teaching and learning math more fun, and creating materials that address the unknowns of mathematics beyond the elementary years. --P.ii.
Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Elementary)Mathematical ability -- Sex differences.