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

Lee, Clare and Morgan, John (2024). Remembering learning mathematics – we can run but we can’t hide. Teacher Development: An international journal of teachers' professional development (Early Access).

Abstract

The adult participants in this study range in age from 20 to 50 years. They describe their remembered experiences of learning mathematics in both primary and secondary education. None of the participants achieved the qualifications in mathematics which would allow them access to higher education. They are now studying mathematics after many years away because it is required to achieve their ambitions. Each participant has considerable mathematics anxiety, which, they reported, resulted in reactions towards mathematics ranging from avoidance to fear and distress. The research uses narrative methodologies to collect and analyse these data. Common emergent themes were unsupportive relationships with their teachers and memories of being excluded and humiliated. The data suggests their teachers did not see supporting students’ well-being as part of their role, resulting in 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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