STUDENTS EMOTIONAL DISPOSITIONAL EMPATHY ON MATHEMATICAL ENGAGEMENT AND THEIR PERFORMANCE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The pedagogical development of mathematics to bring about effective teaching and learning has been the concern of all and sundry mathematics educators. Content delivery of mathematics seeks to engrossed students engagement proportionately by placing them in the center of learning to ensure a much prudent understanding. Mathematical conceptual building is seen through students commitment to mathematical engagement and should be appealed to the head, heart and emotional status more since it involves more reasoning and calculations perceived cognitively as difficult especially among students in Ghana, Owusu-Darko, (2017). The knowledge-based acquisition restrictions of the mathematical content and engagement could be measured along emotional dispositional empathies students attach to it. Issues of emotions should not be a major concern in adolescent’s stage in human developmental stages. It is therefore imperative that mathematics teachers recognize these gender dispositions which cause difficulties in mathematical engagement and understanding.

The conceptual framework surrounding empathy is “an individual’s ability to experience the perspectives and feelings of other people’s experience or what they are going through”, (Davis, 1994). The dispositional component means that, the ability to do so is something that is internal and not learnt and can be genetically bounded. In other words, dispositional empathy is the inherent ability to sense or feel what others are going through in such a way that it produces a willingness or desire to intervene and help (Decety and Lamm, (2006). Davis (1994) states that research on dispositional empathy started with emergence of two main perspectives. One perspective viewed dispositional empathy as affective in nature and the other viewed it as cognitive in nature. The other side of these allusions is the emotions student’s attaches to mathematical engagement which need to be looked at. Therefore, earlier researchers made distinctions between cognitive empathy and affective sympathy. Researchers therefore took an “either or” approach towards an assessment of how cognitive and affective components interact to produce dispositional empathy. The current study therefore adopted the integrative approach to study mathematics engagement by assessing emotional component of the dispositions with respect to students’ mathematical engagement of Atiwa Senior High School (SHS) students in Ghana comprising the three principal SHS for which a similar study on gender was investigated in the same demographic setting with respect to gender dispositional empathy in students mathematical engagement, Owusu-Darko et al, (2017).

The senior high school of the educational system in Ghana is a crucial one because it is at this level that some specialization begins. It is from this level that specialized training colleges and tertiary institutions admit their students. However, this level of Ghana’s educational system is hit with problems that are geared towards students’ inability to appreciate mathematics and get along with it well. Salient among the root causes of this phenomena is the gender dispositional empathy viewed as either male or female perform better in mathematics, or perhaps, engage along well with the other respectively. This is why it has become necessary for researchers to be interested in looking at this psychological syndrome to investigate how this gender dispositional empathy influence mathematics engagement at Atiwa Senior High Schools. This study therefore assessed a qualitative study on the influence of gender dispositional empathy on mathematics engagement among Atiwa SHS students.

1.1 Objective of the study

The main aim of the study was to assess whether there exist a significant association between students mathematical engagement and their emotional dispositional empathy of Atiwa Senior High School students. The specific objectives of the study were to:

  1. to investigate whether emotional dispositional empathy affect Atiwa SHS students’ mathematical engagement, and
  2. to find the extent to which students’ emotional dispositional empathy affect their academic performance?

 

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Updated: 14th July 2017 — 2:02 pm

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