Factors associated with mathematics anxiety and its impact on primary teacher trainees in Malaysia.
This study investigates the extent and nature of mathematics anxiety in primary
school teacher trainees in Malaysia, and identifies the factors that are associated with
This is qualitative research and hence the approach is to understand the current
phenomenon and to obtain a rich and in-depth insight into significant issues.
Three methods for obtaining data are used: questionnaires, interviews and
observations of subjects doing mathematics.
Evidence for the nature and source of mathematics anxiety was derived from what the
teacher trainees said about (a) their perceptions of mathematics; (b) themselves with
regard to mathematics (self-image); (c) their feelings towards mathematics; and (d) their
behaviour when doing mathematics.
Hands-on mathematics was given to the teacher trainees in order to observe how
mathematics anxiety affects them in an actual scenario of doing mathematics.
Interviews were carried out immediately after the hands-on observations in order to
give the teacher trainees opportunities to explain their actions.
Teachers-students relationship, teachers' style of teaching, examination pressure,
parental and peer group influences were identified as the main factors contributing to
the trainees' mathematics anxiety. The cultural setting for these factors emerged from
the research as being of particular significance.