During the Fall 2021 semester, in all of her Mathematics Education courses for future teachers, including, MTL 3600, MTL 5600, and MTL 3630, Dr. Nursen Konuk challenged her students to think about the perception of learning mathematics, and the impact that perception has on children’s ability to learn math.
Multiple studies have pointed to how a student’s attitude towards mathematics can impact their overall achievement in the subject. In the Psychology Today article, “From Math Negative to Math Positive Attitudes in Your Kids,” by Dr. Judy Willis, Dr. Willis states, “Brain scans and other neurocognitive research correlate increased math stress levels with decreased memory efficiency and ultimately a progressive drop in motivated effort.”
Dr. Nursen Konuk works to help her students, who will become future teachers themselves, to work towards creating positive attitudes towards math.
One of the ways in which she does this is to encourage students to see themselves as a “math person,” because, “everyone is a math person,” said Dr. Konuk. “A math person does not look a certain way. We all use math every day, so each and every one of us is a math person.”
Adopting this mindset can help to encourage students to build the confidence necessary to learn math.
Dr. Konuk’s students will be able to take these concepts into their own, future classrooms, and be able to help many generations to come to have a positive attitude towards math.
Math is a powerful tool, and one student’s positive attitude towards math can help change the course of the world.