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ERIC Number: EJ952808
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0020-739X
"I'm a Natural and I Do It for Love!": Exploring Students' Accounts of Studying Mathematics
Bartholomew, Hannah; Darragh, Lisa; Ell, Fiona; Saunders, Jeanette
International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, v42 n7 p915-924 2011
Drawing on in-depth interviews with the third year students at a New Zealand university, we explore the ways in which students speak about studying mathematics, their relationship with the subject and how this has developed over time. These interviews were conducted as part of a project looking at undergraduate mathematics from the perspective of lecturers, students, and interactions in lectures, and funded by the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative in New Zealand. We use the work of Gee ["Identity as an analytic lens for research in education," Rev. Res. Educ. 25 (2000), pp. 99-125] to tease out some discourses of mathematics that frame students' participation in the subject, and show that notions of "natural ability", and of being passionate about the study of mathematics for its own sake, dominate the narratives of mathematics students. In developing this position, we turn to psycho-social theorists such as Hollway and Jefferson ["Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method," Sage, London, 1997] so as to question the "face-value" meanings of these narratives and to argue that students' choices have less to do with rational decision making than with constructing identities that protect vulnerable aspects of themselves. Finally, we develop the metaphor of a "maths club", which we feel captures something of the culture of mathematics and students' orientations towards the subject. This metaphor also allows us to raise questions about widening participation in mathematics. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand