Writing and the Affective Domain of Mathematics Learning
Writing can influence math affect—how students feel about learning mathematics. Expressive writing, which focuses on attitudes, can be used to motivate study, to identify and deal with learning stress, to provide catharsis for negative attitudes or experiences, and to celebrate and build on positive attitudes and experiences. Some teachers use a math journal primarily as an affective learning tool. On the one hand, it gives students an outlet for the overflowing feelings that often accompany intense or difficult learning experiences. On the other hand, it gives teachers a listening post on attitudes, positive or negative, that may affect the learning process. Positive attitudes and responses can suggest effective ways to motivate further progress, whereas negative attitudes signal problems or potential problems that may require intervention.
Creative writing can also promote positive math affect. Writing stories, puzzles, plays, and games about mathematical concepts helps students to make mathematics part of their own worlds and literally to "think" mathematics. And at the same time, creative writing about mathematics lets them practice essential problem-solving skills, such as verbalizing and contextualizing concepts.
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