Make a Better View and Attitude of Students toward Mathematics
Many students have a strong procedural and rule-oriented view of mathematics and assume that mathematical questions should be quickly solvable to get right answers quickly. In addition, teachers think that they have to transmit their knowledge well and ascertain the students receive it as much as possible. Such conceptions may bring students to lack understanding of mathematical concept, fact. Furthermore, they will not be aware that actually there are many strategies to solve mathematical problems, and even miss important mathematical experience. In the long term, it probably creates bad student’s attitude toward mathematics and it is kind of disaster since attitude toward mathematics plays important role of mathematics education. (Zan, 2004)
To overcome the problem above, the Portuguese Ministry of Education led a project in curricula change of mathematics teaching and learning. One of the aims was definitively the improvement of the attitudes of the students towards mathematics. The main characteristics of the new curricula are the absence of mathematics textbook, which is usually used in classroom as a guide for students and teachers, instead the substitute is prepared by the ministry of education and there are also some resources from teachers as complement, the contents of mathematical learning which emphasize real situation to be more realistic, and the method of learning process in classroom. This essay mainly summarizes the case study of researchers investigating the effectiveness of curricula change in affecting students’ attitude toward mathematics.
It is assumed that the purpose of this study is investigating the students’ views and attitudes towards mathematics teaching and learning based on the curricula change.
The case study take samples of students grade 7 and grade 10 in one school. The study itself has three main phases, preparation, conduction, and writing final report. The data are mainly collected by interviewing teachers and students, observation in classroom, and document analysis.
This section emphasizes two main parts of overview namely overview of the curriculum experience and overview of mathematics and mathematics class. The former, in the absence of textbooks, students made wide use of their own notebooks. The 7th grade classes were mostly structured around worksheet based activities (containing exercises, conceptual questions, and problems). They were carried out in pairs, but sometimes also in groups of four students, followed by discussions on the blackboard involving the general participation of the class. The 10th grade class tended to be structured around the discussion conducted by the teacher. The main conclusions were written on the blackboard and then readily copied down by the students to their notebooks. It was quite noticeable that one of the teachers highly valued extra classroom activities, which very often were called to the discussion.
In the second overview, 7th grade students, in general terms, were satisfied with their mathematics classes and with the new curriculum. In the beginning, they were concerned because there was no textbook, but now they felt all right without it. The students felt that classes were different. In their view, there was much group work, reports, and investigations; there was more discussion, less work on the blackboard, more work on the notebook. They felt that the new curriculum implied more work and more thinking. 10th grade students felt particularly insecure in the beginning of the school year; how would it be with no textbook? But these students felt that all the disciplines were going all right. In overall, their view toward mathematics is mathematics is a good lesson for them.
As the curricula change, researchers find that the students’ view and attitude toward mathematics is relatively better than before.
Ponte, Joao Pedro. (1990). Students’ Views and Attitudes towards Mathematics Teaching and Learning: A Case Study of a Curriculum Experience. Centro de Investigação em Educação da Faculdade de Ciências University of Lisbon. Lisbon, Portugal
Zan, Rosetta. (2004). Attitude toward Mathematics: Overcoming the Positive/Negative Dichotomy. TMM Monograph. Pisa, Italy