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Mathematics Learning, Japanese Junior High School Education, Lesson Study, Learning Anxiety
Purpose: The objective of this study is to examine the Japanese junior high school students’ feelings of difficulty in learning mathematics and discuss a possible solution on the ‘Lesson Study’ framework.
Methodology: A survey was performed on 616 students of a public junior high school regarding their feelings towards learning mathematics. The survey was carried out at the end of the academic year 2016 in March, and 182 students (44 first-year, 75 second-year, 63 third-year) participated in the study. In this investigation, only those who answered “No Problem” were further scrutinized by means of conjoint analysis for their anxieties towards the specific learning modules following the education system guidelines and classified as ‘Algebra calculations’, ‘Functions’ and ‘Geometrical figures’. Basically, the analysis consisted of assessing these students’ awareness of ‘being good at’ and ‘being not good at’ one specific module relative to the other modules. Data processing and conjoint analysis were performed with Microsoft Excel.
Main Findings: Roughly 68% of first year students, 77% of second year female students, and 72% of third year female students felt ‘Not Good At’ towards ‘Algebra calculation’ and ‘Functions’, whereas about 95% of second year male students self-assessed themselves as ‘Not Good At’ towards ‘Functions’, and 79% of third year males as ‘Good At’ towards ‘Algebra calculation’. Thus, even though some students declared “No Problem”, they were actually ‘Not Good At’.
Implications: These findings suggest that a class division according to the students’ feelings with ‘Lesson Study’ at the teachers’ level would help struggling students to learn mathematics. In addition, we showed that the use of conjoint analysis-based assessment may help educators and teachers to figure out students’ feelings towards learning mathematics.
Novelty: The use of conjoint analysis to analyze the students’ implicit feelings towards learning mathematics is followed by a discussion on the grounds of ‘Lesson Study’, for which a cycle at the individual level is presented.
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