Transformative Learning: Increasing the Confidence of Enabling Mathematics Students

By Nadine Margaret Adams, Clinton John Hayes, Sherie Elliott, Antony John Dekkers, Darron Francis Johnston and Roland Dodd.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 16, 2015 $US5.00

A paradigm shift in higher education is occurring internationally, with universities changing the focus of their undergraduate degrees, increasing enrolments, and broadening participation. As a result, non-traditional students, who would once have been excluded from university studies, are now enrolling in enabling programmes to meet university entry requirements. Given the vast social and educational diversities of these students, just providing content is often not enough. Many educators are therefore left questioning how they can prepare these students for undergraduate study. Many students entering university through non-traditional means have decreased mathematical confidence and a diminished perception of mathematics and their mathematical ability. Previous studies have indicated that student confidence in their mathematical ability is important and has a direct impact on their success. Therefore, in order to be successful, enabling courses need to provide an avenue for transformative learning—students need to change their frame of reference. The transition mathematics courses at Central Queensland University, Australia (CQU) were designed to follow adult learning principles, providing content knowledge, and increasing students’ confidence, whilst also catering to the diverse social and educational backgrounds of students. A study conducted by CQU, examining students’ mathematical confidence prior to and after completing at least one transition mathematics course, found that students reported a reduced confusion with mathematics and increased mathematical confidence.

Keywords: Mathematics, Transformative Learning, Andragogy, Confidence, Enabling Education

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Learning, Volume 21, Issue 3-4, March 2015, pp.19-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 16, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 811.769KB)).

Nadine Margaret Adams

Lecturer, Learning & Teaching Education Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Clinton John Hayes

Lecturer, Learning & Teaching Education Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Sherie Elliott

Lecturer, Academic Learning Services Unit, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Antony John Dekkers

Senior Lecturer, Learning & Teaching Education Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensalnd, Australia

Darron Francis Johnston

Associate Lecturer, Academic Learning Services Unit, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Dr Roland Dodd

Senior Lecturer, Academic Learning Services Unit, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia