Adults’ Mathematical Thinking and Emotions: a Study of Numerate Practices

by Jeff Evans

This book, to be published by Falmer Press as one of the series of Studies in Mathematics Education edited by Paul Ernest, addresses several perpetual concerns around the teaching and learning of mathematics, and its use in work and everyday life, concerns that are reflected in the discussions at ALM each year. They include:

  • doubts about the transferability of school learning to outside settings;
  • the apparent under-representation of certain groups of adults, such as women, in mathematics study; and
  • the aversion of many people to mathematics – widely viewed as hard, boring, alien, and so on.

These concerns are addressed via several key problems: how, and to what extent, numerate thinking and performance of adults must be understood as situated, in context, and the consequences for rethinking the transfer of school or college mathematics learning to work or everyday situations; the inseparability of thinking and emotion, and the consequent ways in which mathematical activity is emotional, and not simply cognitive; the understanding of mathematics anxiety in psychological, psychoanalytical and feminist theories; social differences in mathematics performance, anxiety, and confidence, especially those related to gender and social class.

In his own research with adult learners, Jeff Evans has developed an interdisciplinary perspective drawing additionally on sociology, poststructuralism and psychoanalysis. Thus he is able to offer an understanding of the context of mathematical thinking as ‘positioning’ in practices.

Falmer Press

hb isbn 0750 709138 – price £55

pb isbn 0750 70912X – price £18.99

pub. date 3rd Nov. 2000