Today is the second day of the CERME7 conference in Rzeszow, Poland. I am attending (and enjoying!) the conference, and I’ll try and share some of the highlights. A lot of our time on this conference is devoted to working group sessions, and it is really a working conference! I am very much in favor of such a format for a conference, and I think it adds some beneficial things to it. The disadvantage, of course, is that you don’t really learn a lot about what is going on in the other working groups. The plenary lecture of today was very interesting, partially because it presented us with an overview of the results from the efforts of one particular working group over the last couple of years.
The lecture was held by Markku Hannula from the University of Helsinki, Finland. He held a very interesting lecture on “Structure and dynamics of affect in mathematical thinking and learning”. In this lecture, he presented us with an overview of research on affects in mathematics education over the last decades. He started off with a focus on the influential article (or handbook chapter) from 1992 by my good friend Douglas McLeod. Since the early 90s, this research area has developed quite a lot, although, in many respects, researchers still struggle with the same issues. This is very much related to the concepts in use, the relationships between the concepts as well as the dynamics involved. Hannula provided a structured and well presented overview of this development, and he also presented us with a nice three-dimensional model of the issues at hand. His presentation also included a nice overview of how the CERME working group on affects had developed over the years. I will look out for his paper when it arrives, and I am sure that it will be of great interest!
Below is the abstract of his lecture:
In this presentation, I will review the development of research on affect in mathematics education since the late 1990s and forecast some directions for future development. One trend in the development has been the elaboration of the theoretical foundation. I will suggest that a useful description of the affective domain can be based on distinctions in three dimensions: 1. rapidly changing affective states vs. relatively stable affective traits; 2. cognitive, motivational and emotional aspects of affect; and 3. the social, the psychological and the physiological nature of affect. Another direction of development has been to explore the structural nature of affect empirically. I will review some instruments that have been developed to measure different dimensions of beliefs, motivation and emotional traits. Moreover, I will look at some empirical results concerning how the different dimensions are related to each other, and how they develop over time.