Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2016


This study tests to see if a correlation exists between students’ attitudes towards mathematics and teacher pedagogy through emotional and instrumental support. Emotional support is defined as an individual’s perception of a mathematics teacher as being warm, friendly, caring, and empathic (Katz & Gueta, 2010). Instrumental support is defined by an individual’s perception of a mathematics teacher’s instruction, whether the teacher is considered to be helpful, and if the teacher provides guidance when needed (Spielberger, 1979). Two surveys were administered and three interviews were conducted to investigate this hypothesis. The first survey consisted of 12 Likert scale items, 5 open-ended responses and 9 mathematics problems for students to solve. Three students were chosen from the first survey to be interviewed in order to delve deeper into their past mathematical experiences. The second survey consisted of 35 Likert scale items that dealt with both emotional and instrumental support. The overall findings of this study illustrated that emotional and instrumental support did affect students’ overall attitudes with mathematics.