Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 5(2), pp. 175 - 180
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2017.050201
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Forming Positive Identities to Enhance Mathematics Learning among Adolescents

Duduzile Rosemary Mkhize *
University of Johannesburg, Research Office, Johannesburg, South Africa


Learners' participation in mathematics decreases during their transition from primary to high school. This is despite adolescents' cognitive growth equipping them with enhanced cognitive ability [1];[2] to learn mathematics. Hence low participation in mathematics does not result from cognitive deficiency. Rather, lack of motivation to learn mathematics may be the factor [3]. According to self-determination theory, motivation results from nurturing three human basic needs: autonomy, connectedness and competence [4]. Since identity is linked to autonomy, identities in mathematics learning impacts motivation to learn the subject. Hence, this paper reports on the action research intervention which took advantage of adolescents' preoccupation with identity formation. In line with continuous cycles of action research, the intervention is the pilot of the ongoing study that seeks to enhance mathematics learning by utilizing non-cognitive factors that resonate with the characteristics of adolescents. The paper reports on how the autonomy to form their identities in mathematics learning, impacted the adolescents' learning and attitude towards mathematics. Qualitative results show that learners lived up to their self-formed identities and this enhanced their motivation to learn mathematics. Further studies that forge positive identities in mathematics classrooms to enhance motivation to learn mathematics are recommended.

Mathematics Learning, Motivation, Adolescents, High Schools, Identity Formation, Self-determination Theory

Cite this paper
Duduzile Rosemary Mkhize . "Forming Positive Identities to Enhance Mathematics Learning among Adolescents." Universal Journal of Educational Research 5.2 (2017) 175 - 180. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2017.050201.