How to Create a Supportive Learning Environment in Mathematics Classes – An Example From a Norwegian Lower Secondary School Class


Mathematics is an important subject in school, however, many students find this subject very challenging. Some even dread mathematics as they do not master it and they may fear that their social status will be negatively influenced by this. It is therefore important that the teacher facilitates for creating a learning environment where students feel they can be open and supported when they struggle. The aim of the current study is to investigate how a five-step method including individual reflections and classroom discussions may facilitate for this type of positive and supportive learning environment. The method builds on self-determination theory and theory of self-regulation.
The five-step method was applied through a four-week long intervention in an eighth grade and focused on numbers and algebra. The students reflected on the following five questions: 1) What is important to learn in algebra and why? 2) What do you already master in relation to algebra? 3) What is difficult and prevents you from learning algebra? 4) What will you focus on improving the next few weeks? and 5) How exactly will you do this? The students filled in evaluation forms including both open and closed questions after the intervention (n = 16). The findings showed that six of the students agreed that the method helped them find out what was important to learn, seven followed the plans they made, five agreed that they had become better at dealing with challenges and three students felt more comfortable in class after the intervention.

Author Information
May Olaug Horverak, Birkenes Municipality, Norway
Judith Emilie Espegren, University of Agder, Norway

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2021
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the ECE2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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