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Title: Extended attribution retraining in the reduction of mathematics anxiety experienced by first-time design students at a South African university of technology
Authors: Rohlwink, Monika
Keywords: Math anxiety;Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Psychological aspects;Mathematical ability -- Study and teaching (Higher)
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Abstract: Mathematical literacy among the citizenry of a nation is considered indispensable to the economic welfare and global competitiveness of that nation (World Economic Forum, 2013a). In a world governed by technology, quantitative literacy is crucial (Colwell cited by Steen, 2002:8) and becomes a “most important professional and life skill” (Maloney et al., 2012:380). It is also seen as an individual’s ability to “manage situations or solve problems in practice” (Frith & Prince, 2006). Lastly, Jansen (2012) believes that sound mathematical literacy leads to an understanding of cause and effect and would guide citizens in their choices of actions. Yet, the belief that mathematical competence (or even just quantitative literacy) is the privilege of a small group of intellectually predisposed individuals is widely accepted in society, further entrenched by erroneous stereotyping (Eccles et al., 1990; Bonnot & Croizet, 2007; Mangels et al., 2011), as well as inadequate teaching methods in the Mathematics classroom/lecture theatre (Artigue, 1999; NSTF, 2009, 2010; Department of Basic Education, 2014). The consequences of this skewed view of Mathematics, and the emotional stress caused by regular failure at the subject, have resulted in wide-spread maths anxiety and maths avoidance among scholars and students. This dissertation examines an intervention programme which was designed to alter students’ negative perceptions of their intellectual ability to grasp mathematical concepts. Instead of attributing their past failures to internal, stable and uncontrollable causes, such as cognitive inability (Weiner, 1985), they were asked to consider factors which were internal or external, but certainly unstable and controllable, and which played a major role in their disappointing history in Mathematics. The interventions were aimed at bringing about a paradigm shift from a fixed mindset (entity theory) to a growth mindset (increment theory) as researched by Dweck since the 1980s. The intervention programme was implemented in the Foundation Course of a South African university of technology. It involved four interventions spread over roughly four months of the first semester and was comprised of the following lecture units and activities: a session of free-writing (Elbow, 1973), lectures on the plasticity of the brain (Hebb, 1949; Diamond 2001, Zull, 2002), the three memory systems (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992), a very basic version of Kolb’s experiential and reflective learning cycle (Atherton, 2009), and the notion of threshold concepts (Meyer & Land, 2003)
Description: Thesis (MTech (Design))--Cape Peninsula University of Technology, 2015.
Appears in Collections:Design - Master's Degree

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