�Me and maths�: towards a definition of attitude grounded on students� narratives

Di Martino, Pietro; Zan, Rosetta
February 2010
Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education;Feb2010, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p27
Academic Journal
The attitude construct is widely used by teachers and researchers in mathematics education. Often, however, teachers� diagnosis of �negative attitude� is a causal attribution of students� failure, perceived as global and uncontrollable, rather than an accurate interpretation of students� behaviour, capable of steering future action. In order to make this diagnosis useful for dealing with students� difficulties in mathematics, it is necessary to clarify the construct attitude from a theoretical viewpoint, while keeping in touch with the practice that motivates its use. With this aim, we investigated how students tell their own relationship with mathematics, proposing the essay �Me and maths� to more than 1,600 students (1st to 13th grade). A multidimensional characterisation of a student�s attitude towards mathematics emerges from this study. This characterisation and the study of the evolution of attitude have many important consequences for teachers� practice and education. For example, the study shows how the relationship with mathematics is rarely told as stable, even by older students: this result suggests that it is never too late to change students� attitude towards mathematics.


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