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Presentation 5A1. Insights from Mathematics Education Research: Developing Concepts of Affect and Emotion

Jeff Evans (UK)


Presentation Abstract

Tracing the development of concepts of affect and emotion in mathematics education (ME) research is informative for research on teaching statistics. In both areas, early research focused on more stable aspects of affect - beliefs, values and attitudes - using surveys to study dimensionality, and correlations with performance. In ME, a concern with gender differences led to focusing on 'mathematics anxiety' so as to provide a non-cognitive explanation for any gender differences in performance. McLeod (1992) proposed a spectrum of forms of affect, from beliefs (more stable, 'cooler') over to emotions (more transient, 'hotter'), with attitudes intermediate. Recent research focuses on emotions, using process-oriented research methods (e.g. semi-structured interviews, textual analysis). Thus, over time, the conceptions of affect and emotions have changed from those of individual 'traits', to aspects of an interactive process of problem-solving. Further, discursive perspectives emphasising the use of language (e.g. metaphor) display emotion as a cultural and social phenomenon.

Evans, J. (2000), Adults' Mathematical Thinking and Emotions: a Study of Numerate Practices. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

McLeod, D. (1992). Research on Affect in Mathematics Education: a Reconceptualisation. In D.A. Grouws (Ed.) Handbook of Research in Mathematics Education Teaching and Learning (pp.575-596). New York: Macmillan.


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