Maths is Brussels sprouts. Good for me. but YUCK!. What do you do?. I’m a maths teacher. I am hopeless at maths!. I can’t read!. Doing maths is an emotional practice. During secondary school, many students become more negative about maths.
Good for me
During secondary school, many students become more negative about maths.
Many students are reluctant to take maths beyond the compulsory years.
5 no longer participating in academic stream
16 no longer participating in academic stream
BECAUSEEach student had a unique relationship with mathematics
19 out of 31 students drew stereotypic nerdy males. There were only 9 boys in the class.
Katrina: The worst thing about the maths is the boredom. Doing textbook work, doing stuff on the whiteboard.
I feel happy and good about maths. It is my favourite subject (Colin)
It’s pretty much middle of the road. Don’t really care that much. It’s just there (Paul)
Maths is poos
I would leave it on my plate
A cold, wet, windy day
A crusty old bus
A turkey (Ruth)
I hate maths! (Tracey)
Maths is different from other subjects because so many people don’t like it (Amanda).
Many of the students became more negative about mathematics during their journey.
The transition from primary school to secondary school was particularly difficult.
In primary school it was just enjoyable to do ... not how it is now … kind of hard … it’s just bookwork and stuff now (Paul).
In maths I don’t really pay attention that much compared to art and stuff because I enjoy those subjects (Nicola)
I feel bad about maths so I just look at the question and think uugh (Amanda)
I’d rather choose a different subject because I like other subjects better (Jennifer)
I used to want to do something in tourism but then I found out like it was mostly mathematics. I thought it was like sort of helping people (Corrina)
I am like bad at [maths]. Always knew it as like my worst subject … it was sort of a belief I guess (Corrina)
Perception of ability
Motivation to engage
I need definite steps of how to do a task that I learn off by heart so I can really understand it (Robyn)
I wouldn’t even know my times tables (Ruth)
Communication, Cooperation, Utilisation of feelings
Perseverance, Intimacy, Integrity, Independence, Reflection
Engagement in a mathematical task
Unique learning experience and outcomes
Unconvinced of importance of mathematics
Did not feel confident in their ability
Had ineffective engagement skills
Had tenuous motivational factors
Remembered rules “off by heart”
Viewed mathematics as an important life skill
Felt confident in their ability
Had effective engagement skills
Had multiple motivational factors
Understood rules and their alternatives
Accept and harness students’ social needsMoira likes being social and that’s more important to her than doing her work(Mrs Brown)
Ben works well in class despite social nature(Mr Carter)
We need to be social. It’s the puberty thing. That’s where the focus of school is (Saskia)
Maths, it’s a subject where talking helps you more than when you talk in English(Ann)
Find ways students can socialise AND use each other as resources and emotional support.
It is heartening that we, as teachers, are able to improve students’ mathematical journeys.
It is heartening that the subject of mathematics lends itself so beautifully to this task.
College of Education
University of Otago