Original Research

Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of their parents’ and teachers’ attitudes towards mathematics

Msizi V. Mkhize
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 16, No 1 | a802 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v16i1.802 | © 2020 Msizi V. Mkhize | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 January 2020 | Published: 30 July 2020

About the author(s)

Msizi V. Mkhize, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, College of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Mathematics is integral to the successful study of accounting. The purpose of the study was to determine accounting students’ perceptions of attitudes towards mathematics among their parents and teachers. The setting for this study is a higher education institution (HEI) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This study included a convenience sample (quantitative) of 255 pre-service accounting teachers from an HEI in South Africa, and a purposive sample (qualitative) of 18 students. Data collection was through the Fennema–Sherman Mathematics mother’s, father’s and teacher’s attitude scales, and an interview schedule designed by the researcher. A sequential explanatory design and sampling were employed. Data were analysed using SPSS for quantitative data, transcribed and analysed qualitatively for interviews. The study revealed that the Fennema–Sherman Mathematics mother’s, father’s and teacher’s attitude scales scores are strongly positive towards mathematics. The out-of-home influences, namely, teachers and friends, were ranked higher than home influences, for example, mother, father and siblings. There are different degrees of support from the home. More students ‘strongly agreed’ that the support came from school, specifically from teachers and peers and friends. Teachers and friends as a result occupy a key role in developing positive attitudes towards mathematics. In the South African context, teachers and friends and peers occupy a more significant role in developing positive attitudes towards mathematics than do parents and siblings. Should the instrument be used again, it would be appropriate for the South African environment to deliberate on support from family members, rather than simply from mother and father.


mathematics; parents’ attitude to mathematics; teacher’s attitude to mathematics; pre-service teachers; attitudes towards mathematics.


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