Developing positive attitudes towards algebra
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This paper reports on one teacher's attempts to teach critical algebra understandings to a Year 9 class in ways that engage the students and help them to develop positive perceptions of their ability to learn algebra in a "rigorous and symbolic way". This paper describes a 6-week algebra intervention based upon connecting concrete representations with symbolic expressions and equations through the careful use of formal algebra language. The teacher had expressed her aspirations that interventions such as this would encourage more students to undertake intermediate and advanced mathematics courses in senior secondary years. The study collected data on student perceptions about their learning experiences including perceptions about mathematics as a subject domain, engagement with the activities, development of algebraic understanding, and the quality of discourse within the classroom. This study found that the students valued the classroom discourse much more than they did the normal mathematics learning experiences. These findings have implications for inservice and pre-service teacher education.
Mathematics: essential research, essential practice
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