A negative mathematical identity may have started with a significant bad experience in mathematics, for example, being laughed at for getting something wrong. It may also be the cumulative result of bad experiences or too few positive experiences.

*The value that is given to their thinking and their contributions influences the way in which students view their relationship with mathematics.*

* Effective Pedagogy in Mathematics/Pāngarau *BES, page 56

Mathematical learning needs to take place in a trusting community. Students with a negative mathematical identity are unlikely to contribute to class discussions because they lack confidence in their own ideas or fear making a mistake. As a result, they become passive or disengaged.

In a supportive environment, students develop the confidence to present their ideas, knowing that they will be listened to and valued. The small-group structure of ALiM groups makes them an ideal setting for students to begin actively participating in learning conversations.

### Actions

- Ensure that the learning environment is safe for sharing ideas.
- Assert that mistakes are an important part of learning.
- Support students to communicate their ideas. For example, use revoicing.
- Read the Mathematical Communities of Practice chapter in the Mathematics BES and
*Draft Case 1. Developing communities of mathematical inquiry*(2010) by Alton-Lee et al.

Back to Resource 1: Fostering positive mathematical identities