The Attitudes Toward Mathematics Learning

A main concern generated in the educational environment is the search for pedagogical strategies and tactics to foster the students’ motivation to achieve their interest in mathematics and its applications.

In some way, a great part of the mathematical failures of many of our students has its origin in a totally destructive initial affective positioning of their own potentialities in this field, which is caused in many cases by the inadequate introduction by their teachers .That is why it is also tried, through various means, that the students perceive the aesthetic feeling, the playful pleasure that mathematics is able to provide, in order to involve them in it, and more deeply personal and human way.

Most of the time, the attitude is been integrated bye the cognitive, affective and behavioral components. Consciousness and understanding are always present, but the person attitude throughout his academic development produces the pleasure or dislike of school activities and mathematics utility.

The attitudes in didactics of the sciences have had a long and difficult path that goes from its conceptual clarification to its empirical evaluation. Hodson (1985) suggested new attitudinal goals whose meanings are especially important for Science and Technology Education (STE): the social aspects of science and school science. STE is an innovative cross-cutting approach in the school science curriculum, which focuses on the values ​​of science (Aikenhead, 1994, Bybbe, 1987, Vazquez and Manassero 1997, Waks and Prakash 1985) so that concept of attitude is the structure that best covers the objectives of teaching and learning STE, because it integrates cognition, affection and behavior.

The positive attitude towards mathematics is to develop curiosity and interest in investigating and solving problems, creativity to formulate conjectures, flexibility to modify their own point of view, and intellectual autonomy to deal with unknown situations by students. Assuming a confidence position in the ability to learn.

The central approach to the didactic methodology that support the programs for education is to bring to the classroom study activities that arouse the interest of students and invite them to reflect, find different ways to solve problems, and formulate arguments that could validate the results.

Therefore, I must emphasize that we need to analyze the attitudes demonstrated in teaching — learning processes of mathematics, must be carried out through some object of learning, which can be done with online free platforms. For example the program: JClick http://clic.xtec.cat/es/jclic/.

The term object of learning, has undergone continuous modifications. However, I refer to the definition proposed by the IEEE:

“An object is any digital or non-digital entity that can be used, reused or referenced by technology-supported learning”

In addition, it is recommended to develop a qualitative analysis through groups of disciplinary pedagogical approach by some experts in areas of pedagogy, mathematics teaching, and learning object developers, on attitudes shown by students and the importance of using ICTs.

It is common for the science teachers to have an assumed concept of attitudes, only by their common sense, which is related to the interest or disinterest in the student’s learning of science. For example, when a student is poorly involved in discussions and topics developed in the classroom, the teacher immediately estimates that the student has a poor attitude toward science.

However, the concept of attitude is broader, as it encompasses cognition, behavior and feelings.

A semantic differential can be applied to obtain an analysis of these attitudes’ complexity, and be able to produced a consideration and validation of experts in the area of ​​mathematics learning, where the following points can be emphasized:

A) Learning a specific topic through ICT.
B) The learning achieved by the student through the object of learning and usefulness in his daily life.
C) The student’s criticism of the structure of the learning object.

Based on the above, we can form an objective critique of attitude, starting from the hypothetical construct that social psychologists define as:

A psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of pleasure or dislike.

A psychological tendency refers to personal inner state, and evaluation refers to all kinds of evaluation response, explicit or implicit, cognitive, affective or behavioral (Eagly and Chaike, 1993, p. 1).

It is very important to know the current abilities of the students in terms of autonomous learning, and the criticism of various learning materials.

With this knowledge, we can see if the students are able to learn independently, in which case we will realize the imperative need to take advantage of this ability, to be able to produce and promote strategies that make available to students other quality learning objects of diverse subjects of mathematics.

Otherwise, if the students do not have the availability and / or do not possess the capacity of autonomous learning, the teacher has a responsibility to motivate and develop that capacity so important for life, by other means.

In either situation, it is essential to have the truthful and current information, to take decisions pertaining to the educational action, and bring the teaching — learning processes of mathematics to its highest possible performance.

It should be mentioned that Likert’s techniques and the semantic differential of Osgood correspond to a psychometric tradition, whose validity is based on the capacity of each item to adequately represent the attitudinal objects by scales. Controversies surrounding the validity of instruments and processes for assessing attitudes have been and will still be frequent. Several reviews (Gardner, 1975, Gauld and Hukins, 1980, Schibeci, 1984, Shrigley and Koballa, 1992) coincide in methological limitations of attitudinal assessment instruments, and have widely criticized the results obtained with them (Gardner, 1996 ).

Tomas Oceguera-Becerra

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