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Priscilla Murphy

  • Position: PhD Student - Department of Marketing and Management

Contact Details

Student information

  • Principal supervisor: Associate Professor Leigh Wood
  • Associate supervisor: Dr Leanne Carter
  • Date of submission: 01/01/2000
  • Thesis title: Conceptions of learning and teaching mathematics
  • Abstract: Effective approaches to teaching and learning mathematics such as, online teaching, accessing learning support, effective study skills will increase students’ ability to cope with tertiary mathematics. A strong mathematics background and better student engagement in the classroom can also increase their mathematical performances.     Based on my project findings in 2010, there were a number of affective variables at play if we have to distinguish a successful mathematics student from a mathematics dropout. Some of the variables were self-efficacy, self-confidence, enjoyment and interest in learning mathematics, study skills and vocational versus idealistic aspiration for learning mathematics. I had found close correlations between these variables and mathematical achievements.  Given the nature of limited sampling and statistical analysis, it was difficult to ascertain a specific variable that will pose as the main determinant of student success. Understanding these determinants - affective factors of learning could help us to appreciate students’ key drivers in learning and mathematical achievement.  My project will investigate the learners’ personal journey in learning mathematics –significant people in their lives, perceptions of learning mathematics and reflections of their personal achievements and past failures. It will also highlight the reasons why students enrolled in the mathematics course, why they subsequently fail or succeed from the dual perspectives of teachers and students. At the same time, it will identify important factors in learning and teaching that affects students’ achievements. It may be worth considering the extent in which teaching styles and conceptions of teaching will impact on students’ learning and mathematical achievements. Nowadays, in tertiary institutions, there is a shift towards online teaching and project-based learning in the classroom. Hence, there is a need for more research in these areas to explore the impact of these changes on teaching and learning. In particular, I will endeavor to work with a group of first-year New Zealand Diploma in Engineering  and Pre-degree (bridging) mathematics students and lecturers in a tertiary institution who will be exposed to different teaching approaches and have different orientations to learning mathematics. The outcome of my project is to provide some recommendations for increasing retention and success of mathematics students.