Abstract
The study further showed that each type of mathematical identity had a distinct pattern of mathematical experiences. Overall, positive mathematical identities were associated with more supportive previous mathematical experiences compared to the negative identity. Contextual factors such as teachers and parents positively or negatively shaped these experiences. The study suggests that teaching strategies that enable students to exercise their agency may not be enough to promote students’ mathematical identities. It is also important to understand how students have experienced mathematics and how they perceive their future relationship with mathematics, and support them accordingly.
Original language  English 

Awarding Institution 

Supervisors/Advisors 

Award date  16 Jun 2017 
Place of Publication  Helsinki 
Publisher  
Print ISBNs  9789515132154 
Electronic ISBNs  9789515132161 
Publication status  Published  16 Jun 2016 
MoE publication type  G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph) 
Fields of Science
 516 Educational sciences
Cite this
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Characteristics and Development of Students' Mathematical Identities : The Case of a Tanzanian Classroom. / Kilasi, Doward V.
Helsinki : University of Helsinki, 2016. 232 p.Research output: Thesis › Doctoral Thesis › Monograph
TY  THES
T1  Characteristics and Development of Students' Mathematical Identities
T2  The Case of a Tanzanian Classroom
AU  Kilasi, Doward V.
PY  2016/6/16
Y1  2016/6/16
N2  Students’ mathematical identity, referring to students’ contextbased narratives about their mathematical selfperceptions, has recently received researchers’ increased attention in mathematics education because, as a construct, it offers a broader socially engaging perspective for analysing the role of these perceptions and sociocultural factors that shape them. While previous studies have mostly examined students in ‘Western’ schools who do not vary greatly in their mathematical and socioeconomic backgrounds compared to students in Tanzanian schools, this study focused on a Tanzanian mathematics classroom whose students varied greatly in these backgrounds. The study applied sociocultural and sociopsychological perspectives to examine the features and development of these students’ mathematical identity. An ethnographic approach was used to collect and analyse data on the students’ mathematical identity and conditions affecting its development at home, in school, and in the classroom. Students’ narratives provided insights into contextspecific features of mathematical identity and patterns of identity development. Also, observations of the school and mathematics classroom, review of official documents, and openended questionnaires generated data for contextualising students’ identity narratives.Data analysis resulted in multiple mathematical identities. While positive identities of Innate ability, Persistent effort, and Imagemaintenance characterised students’ engagement in mathematical activities, the negative mathematical identity of Oppositional identity was accompanied by the students’ tendency to refrain from these activities. The study further showed that each type of mathematical identity had a distinct pattern of mathematical experiences. Overall, positive mathematical identities were associated with more supportive previous mathematical experiences compared to the negative identity. Contextual factors such as teachers and parents positively or negatively shaped these experiences. The study suggests that teaching strategies that enable students to exercise their agency may not be enough to promote students’ mathematical identities. It is also important to understand how students have experienced mathematics and how they perceive their future relationship with mathematics, and support them accordingly.
AB  Students’ mathematical identity, referring to students’ contextbased narratives about their mathematical selfperceptions, has recently received researchers’ increased attention in mathematics education because, as a construct, it offers a broader socially engaging perspective for analysing the role of these perceptions and sociocultural factors that shape them. While previous studies have mostly examined students in ‘Western’ schools who do not vary greatly in their mathematical and socioeconomic backgrounds compared to students in Tanzanian schools, this study focused on a Tanzanian mathematics classroom whose students varied greatly in these backgrounds. The study applied sociocultural and sociopsychological perspectives to examine the features and development of these students’ mathematical identity. An ethnographic approach was used to collect and analyse data on the students’ mathematical identity and conditions affecting its development at home, in school, and in the classroom. Students’ narratives provided insights into contextspecific features of mathematical identity and patterns of identity development. Also, observations of the school and mathematics classroom, review of official documents, and openended questionnaires generated data for contextualising students’ identity narratives.Data analysis resulted in multiple mathematical identities. While positive identities of Innate ability, Persistent effort, and Imagemaintenance characterised students’ engagement in mathematical activities, the negative mathematical identity of Oppositional identity was accompanied by the students’ tendency to refrain from these activities. The study further showed that each type of mathematical identity had a distinct pattern of mathematical experiences. Overall, positive mathematical identities were associated with more supportive previous mathematical experiences compared to the negative identity. Contextual factors such as teachers and parents positively or negatively shaped these experiences. The study suggests that teaching strategies that enable students to exercise their agency may not be enough to promote students’ mathematical identities. It is also important to understand how students have experienced mathematics and how they perceive their future relationship with mathematics, and support them accordingly.
KW  516 Educational sciences
M3  Doctoral Thesis
SN  9789515132154
T3  Helsinki Studies in Education
PB  University of Helsinki
CY  Helsinki
ER 