How Engineering Technology Students Perceive Mathematics

Engineering Technology (ET) is often combined with that of Engineering. Although Engineering Technology is based on a more hands-on approach and Engineering a theoretical approach, the two majors share a very similar pedagogy in teaching students the same engineering and scientific principles. An observation by an ET professor found that ET students more often than not would eschew the use of mathematical computations and instead provide answers they believe to be correct, without computation or explanation. Leading researchers to delve into possible reasons as to why ET students are reluctant to utilize mathematics. This study utilized in-person interviews with 15 undergraduate participants from a Midwestern University in the United States of America from ET to ascertain how ET students perceive mathematics. The results of the study found that although ET students were stated to not hate mathematics and are open to using mathematics, there was a slight apprehension towards math due to bad math experiences and not being able to connect the conceptual nature of mathematics to the visual and real-life scenarios ET students are used to facing. The results of this study help to lay the foundation for future research studies geared towards further understanding why ET students are apprehensive towards mathematics and ultimately how to help ET students overcome this apprehension.

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