1 University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Abingdon and Witney College (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 3019-3028
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1652
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
The construct ‘Mathematical Resilience’ [1] has been developed to describe a positive stance towards mathematics that enables learners to develop approaches to mathematical learning which help them to overcome the affective barriers and setbacks that can be part of learning mathematics for many people. A resilient stance towards mathematics can be engineered by a strategic and explicit focus on the culture of learning mathematics within both formal and informal learning environments. As part of that engineering, we have developed the notion of ‘Teaching for Mathematical Resilience’. The work described here is focused on developing teachers who know how explicitly to develop resilient learners of mathematics.

Teachers for Mathematical Resilience develop a group culture of ‘can do’ mathematics which works to counter the prevalent culture of mathematics helplessness and mathematics anxiety in the general population when faced with mathematical ideas.

This paper discusses the changes in awareness brought about by a one day course designed to develop ‘teachers for mathematical resilience’. The course presentations ran between November 2015 and July 2016 and recruited participants who work as teachers of numeracy or mathematics in Further Education (FE) institutions in the Midlands of the UK. Many of these teachers were being required to teach beyond their own level of mathematical confidence.

The data shows that it is possible within a one day course to increase teachers’ awareness of negative past experiences as a possible cause of difficulty with mathematics; teachers become aware of how patterns of behavior such as avoidance and disruption may have developed as safe-guarding habits and how mathematics anxiety can be transmitted from teacher to student in a vicious cycle. Teachers are supported to work through personal anxieties towards mathematics in a safe and collaborative environment and to develop elements of personal mathematical resilience and awareness of the affective domain. Thus we have sought to break the cycle of mathematics anxiety by educating teacher awareness. However, we have also found that many UK FE teachers request and would likely benefit from a further course due to high levels of personal mathematics anxiety and increased expectations on them.
Mathematical resilience, growth zone model, mathematics anxiety, teacher as coach.