Dept of Mathematics Education seminar: 26 May 2022

40min Presentation + 20 mins Q&A: A/Prof Thomas Hunt “New directions in maths anxiety research: Different populations and specific contexts” (College of Health, Psychology and Social Care, University of Derby) []

Abstract: After several decades of maths anxiety research, there are a few things we know quite well: maths anxiety exists, it is separable from other forms of anxiety, and, typically, it has a reciprocal relationship with attainment. However, it has become apparent that maths anxiety is not a unidimensional construct. It is also clear that several populations, for which maths anxiety is a notable issue, have not been sufficiently studied. In my talk I will give an overview of new lines of research I am involved in that attempt to measure and understand maths anxiety in specific populations, including teachers, trainee teachers, and nursing students. Further to this, I will present recent findings and propose new directions that attempt to uncover new ways of thinking about maths anxiety, including how it relates to other psychological variables and the mechanisms that underpin its relation to performance. 

15.00 – 15.15 Break

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A A/Prof Paul Dawkins Evidence of how students can abstract logical relationships by interpreting mathematical statements and proofs in terms of sets” (College of Science and Engineering, Texas State University) []

Abstract: The extensive body of cognitive science research on how people interpret conditional claims has shown that formal logic provides weak models of how people reason about conditionals in the everyday. This means there is a gap between many untrained modes of language use and mathematical logic. For undergraduate mathematics instruction, we need students to be able to reason about conditionals in a manner much more consistent with formal logic and to understand how the truth of statements relates to proof. Relatively little research-based design work has been done around logic instruction and we have almost no documentation in the literature of how students can learn logic, especially in ways that integrate with their mathematical reasoning. To remedy this, our research team has used constructivist teaching experiments to closely study learning processes. We have been able to foster rich instances of logic learning that we can qualitatively document at a rather fine-grained level. We use guided reinvention heuristics to design instruction because identifying pathways by which students can reconstruct key relationships with minimal guidance helps identify key barriers to and shifts in understanding that may be central to student learning more broadly. In this talk, I will outline our instructional approach and share one illustrative success story providing an existence proof of logical abstraction rooted in set-based reasoning about mathematical statements and proofs.

Contact and booking details

Ouhao Chen
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