About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6358-6367
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

DEVELOPING MATHEMATICAL RESILIENCE IN SCHOOL - STUDENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED REPEATED FAILURE

S. Johnston-Wilder1, C. Lee2, J. Brindley1, L. Garton3

1University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Open University (UNITED KINGDOM)
3The Progression Trust (UNITED KINGDOM)
Mathematics qualifications in the UK and many other countries represent valued cultural capital. In the UK, the typical qualification sought for employment in teaching, nursing, policing and many other professions is a GCSE award in mathematics. Although GCSE is typically taken at age 16, there is no logical or statutory reason why the award cannot be gained earlier or later. The UK government has recently determined that any student aged 16 to 19 who has not achieved at least grade C in GCSE mathematics should be enrolled on an approved GCSE maths course as part of their programme. Many students repeatedly fail to pass the examination; such students often ‘re-sit’ the examination several times. We hypothesised that students who complete a course to develop their mathematical resilience at the beginning of their next re-sit year would be more likely to achieve the desired result.

The construct ‘mathematical resilience’ has been developed (Johnston-Wilder and Lee 2008) to describe a positive stance towards learning mathematics. Mathematical resilience can be engineered within both formal and informal learning environments by a strategic and explicit focus on the culture of learning mathematics. In previous papers (for example, Johnston-Wilder et al 2013), we have described engineering the growth of mathematical resilience through training coaches for mathematical resilience to work alongside learners. In this paper, we discuss the outcomes of a course in mathematical resilience (Sept to Nov 2014) for 17 school students who had repeatedly failed to achieve the required grade in GCSE mathematics and who were now preparing to retake the examination yet again. This short course was focused on helping students to overcome affective barriers and develop more resilient strategies for working on mathematics, and not on learning mathematics content. The students had been given very strong direction by the school to attend this course; they were told that if they did not attend this course and subsequently failed GCSE mathematics again, they would be asked to leave the school, whereas attendance would result in the school taking the view that they were putting in effort and that additional future opportunities to re-sit would be given as needed.

In this course, we aimed to develop students’ mathematical resilience so that they could more effectively support one another when facing difficulties in mathematics. This work developed a culture of ‘can do’ mathematics to counter the prevalent culture of mathematics helplessness, failure and mathematics anxiety. Participants learned to consider and manage their own reactions to mathematical ideas, to explore choices and to reflect on how to support themselves and each other to overcome their barriers to learning mathematics. The data confirm that, once an individual has begun to develop their own mathematical resilience and has worked through their own anxieties and negative stance towards mathematics in a safe and collaborative environment, they can then successfully coach themselves and others to develop mathematical resilience. Outcomes for these learners will be discussed in the paper.
@InProceedings{JOHNSTONWILDER2015DEV2,
author = {Johnston-Wilder, S. and Lee, C. and Brindley, J. and Garton, L.},
title = {DEVELOPING MATHEMATICAL RESILIENCE IN SCHOOL - STUDENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED REPEATED FAILURE},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {6358-6367}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Johnston-Wilder AU - C. Lee AU - J. Brindley AU - L. Garton
TI - DEVELOPING MATHEMATICAL RESILIENCE IN SCHOOL - STUDENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED REPEATED FAILURE
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 6358
EP - 6367
ER -
S. Johnston-Wilder, C. Lee, J. Brindley, L. Garton (2015) DEVELOPING MATHEMATICAL RESILIENCE IN SCHOOL - STUDENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED REPEATED FAILURE, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 6358-6367.
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