Original Research

Albanian students’ motives for preferring certain real-life situations for learning mathematics

Suela Kacerja
Pythagoras | Vol 32, No 2 | a50 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v32i2.50 | © 2011 Suela Kacerja | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2011 | Published: 30 November 2011

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This article reports on a qualitative investigation of Albanian students’ motives for preferring certain real-life situations to be used in school mathematics, and possible connections of these motives to characteristics and issues within Albanian society. It is based on realistic interviews with students from Grades 8 and 9 in a school in the district of Shkodra in northern Albania. Interviews were conducted after students experienced five teaching units which dealt with mathematics embedded in real-life situations. Results are expressed in terms of contextmechanism-outcome configurations as proposed by critical realist theory. Most of the resultsare supported by those from a previous quantitative study which found that students prefer real-life situations which deal with computer games, being productive in a job, community development, and recreation, physical exercise and sport. An important mechanism uncovered in this study was the role of the mathematics that the topic introduced; degree of difficulty of the mathematics influenced the choice of preferred contexts by students. Preferences expressed by students are therefore to be considered with care.


Real-life situations; students' preferences;realistic interviews; realist paradigm


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