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CHALLENGING THE WESTERN APPROACH TO CULTURAL COMPARISONS: YOUNG PUPILS’ AFFECTIVE STRUCTURES REGARDING MATHEMATICS IN FINLAND AND CHILE

  • Laura TuohilampiEmail author
  • Markku S. Hannula
  • Leonor Varas
  • Valentina Giaconi
  • Anu Laine
  • Liisa Näveri
  • Laia Saló i Nevado
Article

Abstract

Large-scale studies measure mathematics-related affect using questionnaires developed by researchers in primarily English-based countries and according to Western-based theories. Influential comparative conclusions about different cultures and countries are drawn based on such measurements. However, there are certain premises involved in these kinds of “imposed-etic approaches,” such as (1) universalism within the examined components, (2) universalism within the components’ significances, (3) the congruence between languages and conceptions, and (4) the components’ coverage of the phenomena. Therefore, researchers have criticized these premises citing a large number of reasons. In this study, the validity of conclusions based on results relying on the imposed-etic approach is questioned by examining to what extent the premises behind this approach can be justified. We investigate the premise of universality within the examined components by scrutinizing the limitations of a typical questionnaire. To what extent can such a questionnaire reveal affective domain structures for pupils in two countries as dissimilar as Finland and Chile? We found that there can be no meaningful precision. Universalism across components within the mathematics-related affect structure is not guaranteed in the two cultures, and the use of such questionnaires is simply unjustifiable. We also thoroughly examined the three other premises underpinning the Western-based imposed-etic perspective.

Key words

cultural comparison Finland and Chile imposed-etic approach mathematics-related affect young pupils 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Tuohilampi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Markku S. Hannula
    • 1
  • Leonor Varas
    • 2
  • Valentina Giaconi
    • 2
  • Anu Laine
    • 1
  • Liisa Näveri
    • 1
  • Laia Saló i Nevado
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.University of ChileHelsinkiFinland

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