A preliminary study on the formulation of indicators and definitions of mathematical bitterness related to teacher treatment

Kurnia Putri Sepdikasari Dirgantoro, Robert Harry Soesanto, Yanti Yanti


Teachers are responsible for helping students to understand and admire subjects, which means they need first to appreciate what is supposed to be taught. Meanwhile, some intern teachers detest several subjects due to the unpleasant treatment received from their tutors. This study intends to clarify the definition of mathematical bitterness and develop its indicators. The respondents were seven third-year students at Pelita Harapan University, Indonesia. Data were collected using questionnaires and interviews and analyzed through descriptive qualitative with a phenomenological approach. The results showed that the indicators of bitterness in mathematics sprang from the following, 1) having experienced unpleasant treatment from a mathematics teacher for a long time, 2) having a negative view of mathematics, 3) feeling untalented in mathematics, 4) viewing the mathematics teacher as unfriendly, 5) poor mathematics learning performance, and 6) having high mathematical anxiety. The proposed definition of bitterness is a negative perception of mathematics that is built from the accumulation of past experiences that affect the student’s response to this subject. Hence, further studies are needed to provide solutions that help to heal students of their math bitterness.


mathematical bitterness; mathematics school; phenomenology; pre-service teacher

Full Text:



Adams, C., & Manen, M. A. (2017). Teaching phenomenological research and writing. Qualitative Health Research, 27(6), 780–791. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732317698960

Ahn, I., Chiu, M. M., & Patrick, H. (2021). Connecting teacher and student motivation: Student-perceived teacher need-supportive practices and student need satisfaction. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 64, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2021.101950

Amirali, M. (2010). Students’ conceptions of the nature of mathematics and attitudes towards mathematics learning. Journal of Research and Reflections in Education, 4(1), 27–41. https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_ied_pdck/8

Anderman, E. M. (2002). School effects on psychological outcomes during adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 795–809. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.94.4.795

Baker-Henningham, H., Meeks-Gardner, J., Chang, S., & Walker, S. (2009). Experiences of violence and deficits in academic achievement among urban primary school children in Jamaica. Child Abuse and Neglect, 33(5), 296–306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.05.011

Baures, M. M. (1996). Latting go of bitterness and hate. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 36(1), 75–90. https://doi.org/10.1177/00221678960361007

Brandt, A., & Chernoff, E. J. (2015). The importance of ethnomathematics in the math class. Ohio Journal of School Mathematics, 71, 31–36. https://kb.osu.edu/handle/1811/78917

Cess-Newsome, J. (2006). Secondary teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about subject matter and their impact on instruction. In G. N. J & L. N.g (Eds.), Examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge (pp. 51–94). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/0-306-47217-1_3

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed methods. Sage.

Devries, K. M., Knight, L., Child, J. C., Mirembe, A., Nakuti, J., Jones, R., Sturgess, J., Allen, E., Kyegombe, N., Parkes, J., Walakira, E., Elbourne, D., Watts, C., & Naker, D. (2015). The good school toolkit for reducing physical violence from school staff to primary school students: A cluster-randomised controlled trial in Uganda. The Lancet Global Health, 3(7), 378–386. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(15)00060-1

Dirgantoro, K. P. S. (2018). Kompetensi guru matematika dalam mengembangkan kompetensi matematis siswa [Mathematics teacher competence in developing students' mathematical competence. Scholaria: Jurnal Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, 8(2), 157–166. https://doi.org/10.24246/j.js.2018.v8.i2.p157-166

Dirgantoro, K. P. S., & Soesanto, R. H. (2021). Peran guru kristen dalam menuntun siswa memandang matematika [ The role of christian teachers in guiding students to view mathematics. JOHME: Journal of Holistic Mathematics Education, 5(1), 114–124. https://doi.org/10.19166/johme.v5i1.3363

Faridah, S., Djatmika, E. T., & Utaya, S. (2020). Kompetensi profesional dan pedagogik guru dalam pengelolaan pembelajaran di sekolah dasar [Professional and pedagogic competence of teachers in the management of learning in primary schools. Jurnal Pendidikan: Teori, Penelitian, Dan Pengembangan, 5(9), 1359–1364. https://doi.org/10.17977/jptpp.v5i9.14059

Gafoor, K. A., & Kurukkan, A. (2015). Why high school students feel mathematics difficult? An exploration of affective beliefs. UGC Sponsored National Seminar on Pedagogy of Teacher Education Trends and Challenges, 1–6. https://bit.ly/37OLqE7

Greenes, C., Ginsburg, H. P., & Balfanz, R. (2004). Big math for little kids. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19(1), 159–166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2004.01.010

Hallinger, P., Tran, N. H., & Truong, T. D. (2021). Mapping the professional learning of primary teachers in Vietnam: a multi-method case study. Professional Development in Education, 00(00), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2021.1879218

Hannula, M. S., Kaasila, R., Pehkonen, E., & Laine, A. (2005, 2005). Structure and typical profiles of elementary teacher students’ view of mathematics Proceedings of the 29th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, https://www.emis.de/proceedings/PME29/PME29RRPapers/PME29Vol3HannulaEtAl.pdf

Hayati, Z., & Ulya, K. (2018, 2018). Are pupils scared of mathematics? A discussion on three strategies used in primary mathematics teaching Proceedings of the International Conference on the Roles of Parents in Shaping Children’s Characters (ICECED,

Jacob, F., John, S., & Gwany, D. M. (2020). Teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and students’ academic achievement: A theoretical overview. Journal of Global Research in Educaiton and Social Science, 14(2), 14–44. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344199882

Kaasila, R., Hannula, M. S., Laine, A., & Pehkonen, E. (2006, 2006). Facilitators for change of elementary teacher students’ view of mathematics Proceedings of the 30th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education,

Kargar, M., Tarmizi, R. A., & Bayat, S. (2010). Relationship between mathematical thinking, mathematics anxiety and mathematics attitudes among university students. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 8(5), 537–542. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.12.074

Kholifah, W. T. (2020). Upaya guru mengembangkan karakter peserta didik sekolah dasar melalui pendidikan ramah anak [Teachers' efforts to develop the character of elementary school students through child-friendly education. Jurnal Pendidikan dan Konseling (JPDK, 2(1), 115–120. https://doi.org/10.31004/jpdk.v1i2.614

Kızıltepe, R., Irmak, T. Y., Eslek, D., & Hecker, T. (2020). Prevalence of violence by teachers and its association to students’ emotional and behavioral problems and school performance: Findings from secondary school students and teachers in Turkey. Child Abuse and Neglect, 107(January), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104559

Kunter, M., Klusmann, U., Baumert, J., Richter, D., Voss, T., & Hachfeld, A. (2013). Professional competence of teachers: Effects on instructional quality and student development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 805–820. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032583

Larkin, K., & Jorgensen, R. (2015). I hate maths: Why do we need to do maths?’ Using iPad video diaries to investigate attitudes and emotions towards mathematics in year 3 and year 6 students. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 14(5), 925–944. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-015-9621-x

Lesh, R., Haines, C. R., Galbraith, P. L., & Hurford, A. (2013). Modeling students’ mathematical modeling competencies. In International perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematical modelling. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6271-8

Mertoglu, M. (2015). The role of school management in the prevention of school violence. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 182, 695–702. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.815

Mitchell, K. M. (2018). Best practices to reduce math anxiety. Pepperdine University.

Muis, T. (2017). Tindakan kekerasan guru terhadap siswa dalam interaksi belajar mengajar (Studi kasus di sman surabaya) [Teacher violence against students in teaching and learning interactions (Case study in sman surabaya. Jurnal Pendidikan (Teori Dan Praktik, 2(1), 86–90. https://doi.org/10.26740/jp.v2n1.p86-90

Muis, T., Syafiq, M., & Savira, S. I. (2011). Bentuk, penyebab, dan dampak dari tindak kekerasan guru terhadap siswa dalam interaksi belajar mengajar dari perspektif siswa di smpn kota surabaya: sebuah survey. Jurnal Psikologi: Teori & Terapan, 1(2), 63–74. https://doi.org/10.26740/jptt.v1n2.p63-74

Picker, S. H., & Berry, J. S. (2000). Investigating pupils’ images of Mathematicians. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 43(1), 65–94. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017523230758

Poutvaara, P., & Steinhardt, M. F. (2018). Bitterness in life and attitudes towards immigration. European Journal of Political Economy, 55(October 2017), 471–490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2018.04.007

Rahiem, M. D. H. (2021). Indonesian university students’ likes and dislikes about emergency remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian Journal of University Education, 17(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.24191/ajue.v17i1.11525

Ramos-Christian, V., Schleser, R., & Varn, M. E. (2008). Math fluency: Accuracy versus speed in preoperational and concrete operational first and second grade children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(6), 543–549. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-008-0234-7

Russo, J., Bobis, J., Sullivan, P., Downton, A., Livy, S., McCormick, M., & Hughes, S. (2020). Exploring the relationship between teacher enjoyment of mathematics, their attitudes towards student struggle and instructional time amongst early years primary teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 88, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.102983

Scarpello, G. (2007). Helping students get past math anxiety. Association for Career and Technical Education. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.237.4822.1556

Trigwell, K. (2012). Relations between teachers’ emotions in teaching and their approaches to teaching in higher education. Instructional Science, 40(3), 607–621. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-011-9192-3

Vukovic, R. K., Kieffer, M. J., Bailey, S. P., & Harari, R. R. (2013). Mathematics anxiety in young children: Concurrent and longitudinal associations with mathematical performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2012.09.001

Zee, M., Jong, P. F., & Koomen, H. M. Y. (2017). From externalizing student behavior to student-specific teacher self-efficacy: The role of teacher-perceived conflict and closeness in the student–teacher relationship. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 51, 37–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2017.06.009

Zhu, M., Urhahne, D., & Rubie-Davies, C. M. (2018). The longitudinal effects of teacher judgement and different teacher treatment on students’ academic outcomes. Educational Psychology, 38(5), 648–668. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2017.1412399

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29408/jel.v9i1.6637


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Kurnia Putri Sepdikasari Dirgantoro; Robert Harry Soesanto; Yanti

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 Creative Commons License
Jurnal Elemen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

View My Stats