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Understanding the Role of Mathematical Anxiety, Disaffect and Emotion in Learning and Teaching the Subject of Mathematics: A Qualitative Study of Swedish Student Teachers’ Experiences and Feelings towards Mathematics Education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Alongside the international consensus about the importance of mathematical competencies in today’s knowledge society, the awareness about children’s and adult’s mathematical anxiety has increased. Within this, relatively limited, field of research it has moreover been revealed that the level of mathematical anxiety is considerably higher among students within teacher education programs compared to other university students. Furthermore, the studies suggest that the anxiety of prospective teachers may influence their performance in the classroom and in turn their pupils’ perception of mathematics. In the case of Sweden, the PISA 2012 revealed a significant increase of mathematical anxiety among Swedish 15 year old pupils in the past ten years.

With this background, the purpose of this study is to investigate prospective teachers’ feelings and experiences towards the subject of mathematics where the aim is to gain a deeper understanding about negative feelings, such as mathematical anxiety. Based on a qualitative research approach, including a survey with around 100 Swedish student teachers, interviews and a focus group session with a smaller group, the findings of the study have shown that the majority of the participants have in different ways experienced negative feelings towards mathematics. With support in poststructuralist theories, where emotions are viewed as a social construction, the study indicates that feelings emerge when students position themselves, or become positioned, within discursive practices. The concept of subjectivity was further used to gain a deeper understanding of students’ process in becoming a teacher.  

Abstract [sv]

Vid sidan av den internationella konsensusen där vikten av matematik lyfts i dagens kunskapssamhälle, har medvetenheten kring matematisk ångest bland barn och vuxna ökat. Inom detta, relativt begränsade, forskningsområde har studier visat på att matematisk ångest är avsevärt större bland lärarstudenter i jämförelse med andra universitetsstuderande. Dessutom har studier påvisat att denna ångest kan påverka lärares framförande i klassrummet och i sin tur sina elevers uppfattning av matematik. I Sverige har resultaten från PISA 2012 undersökningen visat att svenska 15-åriga elevers ångest gentemot matematik har ökat signifikant de senaste tio åren.

Med denna bakgrund är syftet med denna studie att undersöka en grupp lärarstudenters känslor och erfarenheter kring matematik, med målet att få en djupare förståelse för negativa känslor, så som matematisk ångest. Utifrån kvalitativa forskningsansatser, där en enkätundersökning med drygt 100 svenska lärarstudenter, intervjuer samt en fokusgrupp med en mindre grupp studenter har genomförts, visar resultaten att majoriteten av undersökningspersonerna har upplevt negativa känslor av olika slag gentemot matematik. Med stöd i poststrukturella teorier, där känslor betraktas som en social konstruktion, påvisar studien indikationer på att känslor uppkommer när studenter positionerar sig, eller blir positionerade, inom diskursiva praktiker. Subjektivitet konceptet har därtill varit väsentlig för en djupare förståelse för studenternas process mot att bli lärare.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 81 p.
Keyword [en]
student teacher, mathematics, mathematical anxiety, emotions, subjectivity, discursive practices, Sweden, PISA
Keyword [sv]
lärarstudent, matematik, matematisk ångest, känslor, subjektivitet, diskursiva praktiker, Sverige, PISA
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences Didactics Learning Pedagogy Pedagogical Work Mathematics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104744OAI: diva2:725847
Available from: 2014-06-30 Created: 2014-06-17 Last updated: 2014-06-30Bibliographically approved

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