for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Dov Zazkis - Vol. 35 Num. 1 (2015)
 Monsters, lovers and former friends: exploring relationships with mathematics via personification


Personification is the attribution of human qualities to non-human entities. The method of eliciting personification, which requires participants to attribute human qualities to non-human entities, takes advantage of a naturally occurring means through which (some) people discuss the emotional relationship they have with those entities. Eliciting personification is discussed here as a method for examining pre-service teachers’ relationships with mathematics. I propose conceptual blending as a framework for analyzing personification data and demonstrate the utility of this tool. Additionally, personification is discussed as a method for getting pre-service teachers to reflect on how their relationship with mathematics may affect students.