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Students' and Teachers' Values, Attitudes, Feelings and Beliefs in Mathematics Classrooms

Hanna Palmér and Jeppe Skott, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Jack Chen
, on

Students’ and Teachers’ Values, Attitudes, Feelings, and Beliefs in Mathematics Classrooms contains thirteen research articles pertaining to mathematics education. The articles are mostly focused on young mathematics students and prospective teachers. The papers are well-researched and present expected results. Academics with research interests in the topic may find the articles useful.

Several research papers included in this book are quite insightful. One paper takes an interesting approach, using the discourse of students to analyze their beliefs and motivations. A different paper reveals intriguing results on how students think through the process of division and how their anchored beliefs may lead to preconceptions or errors. Every article is written by reputable and experienced mathematicians or educators and present well-researched and documented results.

Several of the articles in the book are, for lack of a better word, unimaginative. One article in particular is ironically self-aware. It muses that “writing an academic paper is all about stating the obvious with an air of surprise”, but admits that “here even the air of surprise is arguably hard to produce”. Though the discussion that follows is quite interesting and redeems the paper, the reader will find that the “air of surprise” is noticeably lacking in quite a few of the other papers in the book.

There are other faults in some of the papers. One paper had a particularly convoluted graph with undecipherable axes and unclear connection to the rest of the research. Another paper has a remarkably low sample size of twelve of limited diversity, limiting the validity of its results.

Students’ and Teachers’ Values, Attitudes, Feelings, and Beliefs in Mathematics Classrooms was written for a very specific audience: researchers interested in young mathematical students and prospective teachers. For this audience, a wide range of studies is provided as well as an extensive paper trail. Anyone not belong to this target audience are advised not to add this book to their reading list.

Jack Chen is an engineering science student at the University of Toronto planning to major in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His current mathematical interests are in algebraic combinatorics.

See the table of contents in the publisher's webpage.