WHAT MAKES LEARNING MATHEMATICS AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE: LISTENING TO ESTONIAN PUPILS’ VOICES
ResumoResearch has shown that affective factors, including liking the subject, influence pupils’ mathematical performance and future decision-making. The aim of this paper is to reveal the factors that influence one’s liking of mathematics. The study, based on semi-structured interviews amongst pupils from 7th, 9th and 11th grades in Estonia, tried to find answers to the questions why pupils like or dislike mathematics as a subject and why pupils like or dislike the mathematics teacher. The study concluded that mathematics is liked because of specific activities that pupils are engaged with in the lesson (e.g. figuring things out); of specific content (e.g. word problems); of feeling competent in mathematics and understanding the subject, and because the teacher displayed the following characteristics: being polite, caring, funny, professional and reasonably strict, creating a good learning environment, explaining the subject well, relating mathematics to real life and being a sensible evaluator.