Students’ Emotions in the High School Mathematical Class: Appraisals in Terms of a Structure of Goals

  • Gustavo Martínez-Sierra
  • María del Socorro García-González


Little research in the field of Mathematics Education is directed towards emotions of students beyond their emotions in problem-solving. In particular, the daily emotions of students in a mathematics class have been sparsely studied in the field of mathematics education. In order to fill this gap, this qualitative research aims to identify high school students’ emotional experiences in the mathematics classroom and identify the appraisal structures that support such emotional experiences. Focus group interviews were carried out until theoretical saturation of the data was achieved (N = 53 in nine focus groups interviews). Data analysis is based on the theory of cognitive structure of emotions, which specifies eliciting situations for each emotion and the variables that affect intensity. The emotional experiences in this structure are as follows: satisfaction, disappointment, hope, fear, joy, distress, boredom, interest, pride, reproach, self-reproach, like and dislike. These results show that the emotional experiences of students are based on their appraisals of events, objects and agents in terms of a structure of goals.


Appraisal structures Emotions in mathematics classroom Emotions in mathematics education Goals Students’ emotions Theory of cognitive structure of emotions 



The National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT, Basic Scientific Research 2012: 178564) and its Mixed Fund with the Government of the State of Guerrero supported this research. We appreciate the help of the teacher Maria Patricia Colin Uribe in conducting the fieldwork and the help of Marisa Miranda Tirado in revising this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo Martínez-Sierra
    • 1
  • María del Socorro García-González
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Centre of Mathematics Education, Mathematics Academic Unit (Guerrero State, Mexico)Autonomous University of GuerreroChilpancingo de los BravoMexico
  2. 2.Mathematics Education DepartmentResearch Center of Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute of MexicoMexicoMexico

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