Comparing English and Norwegian pupils’ attitude towards mathematics, in this article I develop a deeper understanding of the factors that may shape and influence ‘pupil attitude towards mathematics’, and argue for it as a socio-cultural construct embedded in and shaped by students’ environment and context in which they learn mathematics. The theoretical framework leans on work by Zan and Di Martino (The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, Monograph 3, pp. 157–168, 2007) to elicit Norwegian and English pupils’ attitude of mathematics as they experience it in their respective environments. Whilst there were differences which could be seen to be accounted for by differently ‘figured’ environments, there are also many similarities. It was interesting to see that, albeit based on a small statistical sample, in both countries students had a positive attitude towards mathematics in year 7/8, which dropped in year 9, and increased again in years 10/11. This result could be explained and compared with other larger scale studies (e.g. Hodgen et al. in Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics. 29(3), 2009). The analysis of pupils’ qualitative comments (and classroom observations) suggested seven factors that appeared to influence pupil attitude most, and these had ‘superficial’ commonalities, but the perceptions that appeared to underpin these mentions were different, and could be linked to the environments of learning mathematics in their respective classrooms. In summary, it is claimed that it is not enough to identify the factors that may shape and influence pupil attitude, but more importantly, to study how these are ‘lived’ by pupils, what meanings are made in classrooms and in different contexts, and how the factors interrelate and can be understood.
|Number of pages
|ZDM : The International Journal on Mathematics Education
|Published - 2011