Remembering learning mathematics – we can run but we can’t hide

Lee, Clare and Morgan, John (2023). Remembering learning mathematics – we can run but we can’t hide. Teacher Development: An international journal of teachers' professional development (In Press).


The now adult participants in this study range in age from 20 to 50 years. They describe their remembered experiences of mathematics in both primary and secondary education. None of the participants had qualifications in mathematics which would allow them access to a higher education course. They are now studying mathematics after many years away because it is a required part of their course of study.
Each of the participants has considerable mathematics anxiety, which, they reported, resulted in reactions to having to learn mathematics ranging from avoidance to feelings of fear and distress. The research uses narrative methodology to collect and analyse these data. Common themes which emerged were unsupportive relationships with their teachers and memories of being excluded and humiliated. The data suggests their teachers did not see supporting their students’ wellbeing as part of their role, which resulted in the participants’ strong negative emotional reactions. The article concludes that where warm, respectful, relationships are built, barriers to learning mathematics can be overcome.

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