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Question Asking and Storytelling as Means to Increase Mathematics Interest in Teacher Education

Lack of interest, especially in the STEM-fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), has been an unsolved problem from middle school to tertiary level. It is therefore an important challenge to develop interventions to increase interest.

About the project

Earlier research has found evidence for the effectivity of various interventions, such as personalization, example choice, and relevance intervention, have a positive effect on interest in the STEM-fields. However, there are interventions used in instruction that have not been tested empirically. Two of them are question asking and storytelling. Two subprojects are dedicated to explore these interventions.


The first subproject uses experimental methods to examine the effect of hearing or posing questions about mathematics on interest in teacher students. The second subproject investigates the effect of hearing or writing a story that includes the mathematics to be learned on teacher students interest. The research does not only explore the effects of the interventions but also tackles the underlying mechanisms.


We assume that to hear and particularly to pose questions increases interest mainly because it arouses curiosity due to the discovery of knowledge gaps whereas to hear and particularly to write a story that embeds the mathematics problem at hand increases interest because it connects mathematics to personal interests. We do not only assess interest but also learning outcomes to ascertain that interest does not undermine learning, as it is the case for glossy pictures that attract attention without supporting learning. Finally, to do research with teacher students is an exciting opportunity because teachers do not only have to learn mathematics but to teach it at school. We shall explore whether the awareness of this role increases both academic and didactic interest.


The Research Council of Norway (FINNUT - Researcher Project) 2019 - 2022.


The project is a collaboration between Department of Psychology (UiO), Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL).


  • Lindell, Trym; Zickfeld, Janis Heinrich & Reber, Rolf (2022). The Role of Affect in Late Perceptual Processes: Evidence from Bi-stable Illusions, Object Identification, and Mental Rotation . Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. ISSN 0096-1523.

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Published Dec. 5, 2018 11:05 AM - Last modified Apr. 28, 2022 10:16 AM