Masters Degrees (School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Balancing mathematics assessment tasks to accommodate problem-solving in Grade 7 classes
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Bhekiswayo, Nomthandazo Moureen; Moleko, M. M.
    The present South African mathematics curriculum, The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, requires that learners be given the opportunity to acquire the ability to be systematic, generalise, solve problems, and think critically. These goals necessitate the use of assessment tasks that encourage learners' engagement in the development of mathematical thinking and reasoning. This means that teachers must exercise caution while designing assessment tasks and developing assessment strategies. Teachers must also be aware of the cognitive demands and nature of tasks and should include all in their assessment tasks. This study focused on to exploring how teachers balance mathematics assessment tasks to accommodate problem-solving and high-order cognitive demand in Grade 7. The model of mathematical task progression was adopted as a conceptual framework of this study. The selection of the model of mathematical tasks progression provided a lens through which the researcher could analyse the data and generate the empirical findings. The research followed a qualitative approach guided by a descriptive case study. The study was carried out in five schools, four township schools and a school in an urban area. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, lesson observations document analysis. Social constructivism underpinned this study as it enabled the researcher to observe the participants in their own social settings. Through the use of thematic data analysis, the researcher was able identify themes. The findings revealed that teachers lack pedagogical content knowledge, that is, knowledge and skills in balancing their own assessments tasks; secondly, the study revealed that teachers excluded problem -solving in their assessment tasks as their understanding of problem-solving was limited; thirdly, teachers used textbooks as their source of assessment tasks and insufficient time was given to learners to work on tasks; fourthly, high-order questions were excluded during learning assessment and low-level cognitive demands were dominant in all the assessment tasks. Finally, teachers used only a teacher-centred approach and used teacher-learner dialogue as their teaching and assessment strategy. The challenges that emerged from the study had implications for assessment and thus required the assessment of mathematics in Grade 7 to be approached differently to enable learners to engage more in meaningful and balanced assessment tasks. Further training for teachers is needed in order to address the complexities that exist within the balancing of mathematics assessment tasks to include problem-solving.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the teaching and learning of circle geometry in rural schools
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Mpheti, Vincent Molebogeng; Mpalami, Nkosinathi
    This report presents a qualitative case study exploring the teaching and learning of circle geometry in rural schools. The study involved six educators and was carried out in Bohlabela District, Mpumalanga. Data was collected through lesson observations of six consecutive lessons during the content workshop, lesson observations during class visits, learners’ scripts, and semi-structured interviews with the educators. The Duval’s cognitive theory guided the study. The findings indicate that educators that participated in this study were able to teach the correct content following the annual teaching plan. Learners were able to complete tasks set on circle geometry during teaching and learning in the classroom. On the other hand, the educators could not emphasise the issue of composing and decomposing shapes, the application of visualising shapes before proving the theorems, the relationship of shapes within the orientation of the circle and encouraging learners in solving circle geometry problems. Learners could not solve geometric problems, provide statements and prove theorems. The findings of this study might be useful to all secondary school mathematics in improving the teaching and learning of circle geometry. This study recommends using the cognitive processes when teaching circle geometry and assessing learners in mathematics classrooms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the use of mobile learning applications in the Physical Sciences classroom
    (University of the Free State, 2022) Tsie, Motlatsi Jacob; van Breda, C.; Combrinck, G. P.
    Over the years, there has been a rapid increase in the development of technology. Most researchers have realised the importance of integrating technology in teaching and learning activities. This should also be included into curriculum planning as teaching with technology will assist in better lesson delivery. Since ICT tools are expensive to buy and maintain, smart phones through mobile apps provide alternatives that are readily available with most of them not requiring a subscription fee. Although e-Education policies that support the use of technology in the classroom are being implemented, schools in the Free State are still not exploiting this advantage. However, guidelines on how to use a smart phone in the classroom, is lacking. Additionally, because of the numerous apps advertised in stores, it is difficult to find a relevant app for use in the classroom. This study emanated out of concern that South African schools lack ICT and Physical Sciences resources and therefore learners will not grasp the importance of using smart phone technologies to enhance learning activities thus creating a digital gap in their knowledge and skills. In attempting to understand the role free mobile applications could play in a Physical sciences classroom, this study investigated if learners know how to install and use apps appropriately, and then assess them for suitability and applicability in the teaching-learning processes. The teaching and learning policies and the CAPS document were used to inform the study on what type of skills learners should acquire in Physical Sciences, especially by using smart phone apps. Additionally, TPACK informed on the different types of knowledge that an educator must possess in order to integrate technology in teaching and learning activities. This concurrent mixed method study selected 72 Grade 10 and 11 Physical Sciences learners from 2 schools in the Southern Free State by utilising observation sheets and questionnaires to elicit the impact of adopting mobile apps in teaching and learning activities. This was done through the testing of 4 applications; namely, the Physical Science mobile app, WhatsApp, the school planner app, and the Google classroom app. Key findings revealed that learners knew how to acquire mobile applications on their own. This can be acquired from an app store, or the internet through a browser and through sharing software which allows apps to be shared as an APK file. Additionally, learners knew how to evaluate content through the apps concerning its relevancy to the Physical Sciences. Learners experiences indicated that apps can be used to impact planning, provide sufficient practice, and improve communication between teachers and learners. Moreover, these apps prioritised learners to be in charge of their learning by allowing them to schedule events for later dates and to practise at any point without the supervision of an educator. However, app usage in the classroom provided loopholes that made it easier for learners to collude, proving that the usage of apps in the class must be supervised. These findings, therefore, call for a revision of policies that can guide smart phone usage in the classroom to avoid collusion. Additionally, app usage must be promoted in schools to provide learners with sufficient resources to access learning content with ease which will somewhat address the lack of resources in schools. Teacher- training must also include the use of ICT programmes to facilitate learning in schools. Teacher-trainees when on practice sessions at schools could monitor the progress of teaching-learning situations when using smart phones in classroom. Future studies must utilise eye-tracking software to determine the areas that learners generally hone into when using an app which can lead to better suitable apps being created for teaching and learning purposes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The teaching of Euclidean geometry: a universal design for learning approach
    (University of the Free State, 2022) Thamae, Matheko Thabo; Moleko, M. M.
    Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in supporting learners with extensive needs, disabilities and planning inclusive mathematics curricula. However, little has been documented about the effects of implementing UDL in the teaching Euclidean geometry. Hence the focus of this study was to explore the implementation of UDL to enhance the teaching of Euclidean geometry. Learners’ performance in Euclidean geometry had been a concern to all stakeholders in the education system locally and internationally. Several studies affirmed that the root cause of the poor performance in Euclidean geometry were the ineffective teaching strategies which resulted in teachers not meeting the needs of the learners in their classrooms. UDL is a curriculum framework designed to address diverse learners’ needs and create a conducive and enabling learning environment for all learners. The study was qualitative in nature, underpinned by social constructivism and adopted a participatory action research (PAR) as a research design. Data were collected from a team of five mathematics teachers with experience of more than ten years of teaching from Grades 8-10, the Mathematics HOD, the subject advisor, Mathematics coordinator for the senior phase, the Curriculum Education Specialist, and the UDL coach. The coach raised awareness about the diversity in classrooms and how the principles of UDL could be implemented to teach Euclidean geometry effectively. The lesson observations and focus group discussions were used as the primary data collection instruments. Data were generated through active engagement and discussion among the co-researchers using free attitude interview technique (FAI). The findings revealed that implementing UDL principles in teaching Euclidean geometry could make geometry content accessible and perceptible to all learners. This study could add to the body of knowledge as there was little documented about how UDL could be implemented to create inclusive and flexible teaching strategies for teaching Euclidean geometry and making the content accessible to the society of diverse learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The influence of scientific investigation workshops on life science teachers’ attitudes towards scientific investigations
    (University of the Free State, 2022) Smit, Shani; Pretorius, J. P. H.
    Life Science teachers’ attitudes play a vital role in successful scientific investigations. Some Life Science teachers situated in the central part of South Africa might experience challenges that include a lack of the necessary scientific knowledge and skills that hinder scientific investigations. These challenges might adversely influence Life Science teachers’ attitudes towards conducting scientific investigations, which might result in them conducting the minimum number of investigations with their learners. Professional, in-service training workshops allow teachers to develop the necessary scientific knowledge and skills to successfully conduct scientific investigations. This study aimed to understand how a scientific investigation workshop might affect Life Science teachers’ attitudes by measuring the ABC attitude model’s affective, cognitive and behavioural components. This research provided information on how vital in-service training programmes such as this scientific investigation workshop are in fostering positive attitudes toward scientific investigations. The findings that emerged from this study imply that implementing this scientific investigation workshop has developed Life Science teachers’ confidence in their science skills and knowledge to facilitate scientific investigations. The findings also indicate that this scientific investigation workshop caused a significant improvement in teachers’ intended behaviours in implementing scientific apparatus in the science classroom, as they gained valuable knowledge and skills regarding the science apparatus.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring common Algebraic expression challenges in a Grade 10 mathematics classroom
    (University of the Free State, 2022) Musi, Sophie; Moleko, Mirriam Matshidiso
    The purpose of the study was to explore the common algebraic expression challenges in a mathematics classroom and to suggest the best practices or solutions to address these challenges. The study was qualitative in nature, underpinned by a Critical Emancipatory Research (CER) research paradigm. An Action Research (AR) design was adopted as a research design. Data were collected from a team of two mathematics teachers with experience of more than ten years of teaching mathematics in the FET-phase, and 43 Grade 10 learners in one of the high schools in Motheo District. The lesson observations and focus group discussions were used as the primary data collection instruments. Data were generated through active engagement and discussion among the participants using the Free Attitude Interview technique (FAI). Data were analysed by using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six stages of thematic analysis technique. The findings revealed the following common algebraic expressions challenges and teaching issues pertaining to Grade 10 mathematics; Gap between algebra and arithmetic, Inability to represent word expression in algebraic format, Teachers’ lack of pedagogical knowledge, Teachers’ inability to explain algebraic concepts in-depth, Learners’ inability to manipulate algebraic expressions and Improper use of mathematical vocabulary/expression to mention a few. The study revealed these challenges as sources of difficulty for learning and teaching algebraic expressions in Grade 10. The study thus advocates for the need for knowledge acquisition of these common challenges and awareness thereof, in order for teachers to successfully teach the algebraic expressions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The influence of transformational leadership on teacher professionalism of Grade 6 teachers in the Xhariep district
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Mona, Sandra Nontuthuzelo; Hamilton, J.
    The focus of education today is on providing high-quality education that can change the socioeconomic circumstances of South Africans living in poverty. Teachers have a responsibility to look after the emotional, physical, and mental health of their students. School principals play a vital role in supporting these tasks. One of their responsibilities is to be effective leaders who can influence how teachers behave in their schools. This study investigated how transformational leadership can impact the professionalism of Grade 6 teachers in the Xhariep District. According to the literature, principals can have a significant impact on how teachers behave professionally because they are transformational leaders. The study was guided by the discussion and analysis of the transformational leadership model, which helped to identify the factors that influence Grade 6 teachers' professionalism. The study used a qualitative approach to the research problem located within the interpretivism paradigm. Three primary schools were selected as the research sites, and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. The data from six Grade 6 Natural Sciences & Technology teachers (two from each primary school) and three principals from each primary school were analysed using thematic analysis. The study found that principals can influence teachers' professionalism through effective leadership practices, which can lead to high-quality teaching and learning. The study also found that teacher professionalism is a complex issue that is influenced by both teacher-internal factors and school-external factors. The study provides recommendations on how schools can help teachers become more professional and create environments with adequate teaching resources to deliver high-quality instruction.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The use of indigenous games in the teaching of geometric patterns in mathematics in the intermediate phase
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Galawe, Busisiwe Faith; Mosimege, Mogege
    The study investigated the use of indigenous games in teaching geometric patterns in mathematics in the Intermediate Phase. The current research aimed at providing findings to using indigenous games in teaching geometric patterns in the intermediate phase. The Motheo Education District served as the site for this investigation that was guided by a method known as the explanatory sequential approach. Questionnaire were distributed to at least fifty educators during the qualitative stage. The findings were identified and categorised. The second stage of study conducted interviews with five educators. The interviews focused on investigating whether educators apply indigenous games in teaching geometric patterns. During the last stage of the research, the researcher observed the lessons of educators to determine whether educators integrate indigenous games as a teaching strategy. The conclusion of the research discovered that methods currently used by educators in teaching geometric patterns were teacher-centred rather than learner-centred. Conventional practice, known as the chalk and talk (or chalk talk) method, were still embraced in mathematics classrooms to teach and geometric patterns. The prior knowledge of learners was hardly prioritised by the educators’. However, this is problematic and can impede the performance of learners. The study revealed that the participants, when they were informed, enjoyed the use of indigenous games in teaching geometric patterns in the Intermediate Phase. Recommendations of the study were made concerning the above findings, particularly regarding further investigation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring teachers’ perceptions and practices of education for sustainable development in life sciences classrooms
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Mofokeng, Lerato Alphonsina; Tsakeni, Maria
    There are many sustainability challenges that humanity faces such as poverty, freshwater crisis, population growth, solid and hazardous waste and sewage problems. Education is one of the key strategies earmarked to respond and provide solutions to the sustainability challenges. The educational strategies seek to motivate learners to become sustainably engaged citizens through their commitment to environmental stewardship, and reflection about the interaction of social justice, ethics, wellbeing, and ecological and economic factors. One educational strategy is widely referred to as education for sustainable development (ESD) and can be implemented through both informal and formal teaching and learning devoted to sustainability. Teachers are therefore considered capable agents of change who prepare learners to be responsible citizens and be aware of the consequences of their actions and behaviour. The aim of the study was to explore teachers’ perceptions and practices of ESD in Life Sciences classrooms. The pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) for the science teaching model was used to interpret and understand teachers’ perceptions and practices of ESD in Life Sciences classrooms. The study used a qualitative research approach, a case study design to explore the teachers’ practices in implementing ESD in the Life Sciences classrooms. Purposive sampling was used to select three Life Sciences teachers who practiced the teaching of ESD. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, classroom observations and document analysis (lesson plan analysis) and were analysed using thematic data analysis. Findings were categorised into three themes according to the three sub-research questions of the study. The themes are teachers’ perceptions of ESD in Life Sciences classrooms, integrating ESD in Life Sciences classrooms and the influence of teachers’ perceptions on practicing ESD in Life Sciences. Findings revealed that participants had different perceptions of ESD. The teachers perceived ESD as capable of promoting interactive learning, preparing learners to become responsible citizens, promoting a culture of accountability, allowing for creative thinking, and promoting problem solving and decision-making skills. Participants employed different teaching strategies such as inquiry-based approach, participatory and exploratory learning, and collaborative learning. Activities such as presentations, debates and problem-based learning were conducted in classrooms during the integration of ESD. Participants used project-based assessment, group assessment and concept tests to assess learners. Participants’ perceptions influenced the practice of ESD as all three sustainability pillars were included in their teaching. In their lessons, there was an inclusion of the environmental pillar (air and soil pollution), social pillar (interaction and peace) and the economic pillar (economic growth and business skills). Out of the three sustainability pillars, the environmental and social pillars were more practiced and to a lesser extent, the economic pillar. Participants indicated that some of their challenges of integrating ESD were lack of ESD knowledge, lack of resources, time constraints and the ATP being too packed. Participants suggests that the Department of Education intervene and provide development programmes that will equip them with the required knowledge and subject advisors and district officials should be involved. They suggest that the department release funds for resources and school trips to expose learners to different environments. Lastly, the Life Sciences ATP should incorporate ESD concepts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teachers’ perceptions and practices of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education life sciences classrooms
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Nzimande, Enosancia Morongwenyane; Mafugu, T.; Tsakeni, M.
    This study was motivated by an observed need for more comprehension of the integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education by teachers. To gain more insights into the research problem, this study explored teachers’ perceptions and practices of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in life sciences classrooms. A conceptual framework of Constructivism and STEM education was used to guide the study. The study was conducted using a qualitative research approach, an interpretive paradigm and an exploratory case study design. Purposive sampling techniques were used to select three life science teachers who taught Grades 10-12 in different schools from Thabo Mofutsanyana District of the Free State Province of South Africa. Data were gathered by means of semi-structured interviews with the teachers, lesson observations, and document analysis to elicit teachers’ perceptions and practices of STEM education integration in life sciences. The data generated from the three instruments were triangulated and analysed thematically as guided by the subsidiary questions. Four themes were identified as teachers’ perceptions of STEM education, the practice of STEM education in life sciences classrooms, challenges encountered during STEM integration, and opportunities provided by proper instruction of STEM education. Four significant findings emerged. First, teachers were aware of STEM education and the integrative nature of the STEM disciplines. However, the second finding showed that they were inadequately prepared to incorporate STEM integration approaches in their teaching lessons. The teachers struggled to integrate STEM disciplines into their classroom practices. Regardless of their comprehension of STEM education, their classroom practices were divorced from what STEM integration demands. Thirdly, it emerged that teachers encountered many challenges regarding STEM education. Other than individual challenges experienced by teachers, such as a lack of pedagogical strategies and being under-prepared to implement STEM education integration, there were also contextual factors which inhibited proper instruction of STEM education. The contextual factors included a lack of resources to carry out successful experiments and design projects, frequent power outages in the area, and overcrowding of learners. The study recommends the provision of sufficient support through conducting relevant workshops.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The level of metacognitive awareness of pre-service mathematics teachers at a higher education institutions
    (University of the Free State, 2017) Du Toit, Henriette; Junqueira, K. E.; Du Toit, D. S.; Mahlomaholo, S.
    𝑬𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉 There are ongoing concerns about educational institutions not empowering learners with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for school achievement, lifelong learning, and the workplace of the new millennium. In particular, South African learners have performed poorly in recent national and international assessments of mathematical proficiency. As a result, the Department of Basic Education has asserted the importance of enhancing the quality of Mathematics teaching and learning. Enhancing the ability to teach Mathematics has the potential to improve educational outcomes, as well as increase future employment and higher education opportunities for young South Africans. The poor Mathematics results point to the need to enhance, among other things, learners’ metacognitive awareness. Metacognitive awareness entails the knowledge and regulation of one’s cognitive processes. Enhancing metacognition could not only support learners in solving mathematical problems, and so improve mathematical achievement, but could also enhance productive and lifelong learning in learners. Fostering metacognitive awareness within Mathematics learners involves first fostering metacognitive awareness in Mathematics teachers, who are responsible for facilitating quality Mathematics teaching and learning. However, research suggests that teachers generally do not teach or model metacognitive awareness to their learners, or display metacognitive adaptive competence in their own teaching practice. The purpose of the study was to determine the level of metacognitive awareness of Mathematics pre-service teachers at a Higher Education Institution. Framed within a post-positivist/interpretivist paradigm, a mainly quantitative research approach with a minor qualitative enquiry informed the study. The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) was distributed to fourth-year Mathematics pre-service teachers at a South African Higher Education Institution in order to determine their metacognitive awareness regarding Knowledge of cognition (comprising of Declarative knowledge, Procedural knowledge, and Conditional knowledge) and Regulation of cognition (comprising of Planning, Information management, Monitoring, Debugging, and Evaluation). To enrich the findings of the quantitative analysis, the qualitative data generated from a think-aloud problem-solving session—where the pre-service teachers recorded their thought processes whilst solving a problem—was analysed to determine the extent to which their reported metacognitive awareness translated into successfully solving a Mathematics problem. In the quantitative findings on the MAI, the pre-service teachers reported a moderately high level of metacognitive awareness; in addition, they reported a higher level of metacognitive knowledge (Knowledge of cognition) than of metacognitive skills (Regulation of cognition). Findings from the think-aloud problem-solving session, meanwhile, point to an inadequate level of metacognitive awareness, indicating a gap between what the pre-service teachers report to do in the learning and problem solving of Mathematics and what they can actually do in a problem-solving context. There is historical precedent for this gap, as noted in the scholarship. The close of the study highlights the need to enhance the metacognitive awareness and reflective practice of these Mathematics pre-service teachers by enhancing their metacognitive skills—Monitoring, Debugging, and Evaluation—and enhancing their problem-solving skills. It is further recommended that reflective problem-solving opportunities built around complex, novel problems be incorporated into Mathematics modules in teacher training, to facilitate prolonged and deliberate reflection. More broadly, it recommends that metacognitive reflective and problem-solving opportunities are provided for novice and underqualified teachers. Such opportunities will aid prospective and current Mathematics teachers to become mathematically proficient and metacognitively aware themselves, to deal with novel scenarios in Mathematics and their teaching practice and to translate this metacognitive adaptive competence for their learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The integration of information and communication technologies into teaching of physical science in Lesotho
    (University of the Free State, 2017-01) Lisene, Lucia Nthooa; Jita, L. C.; Jita, T.
    Change is anon-goingprocess that is affected by the person’s capabilities and emotions associatedwith the innovation. The knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for teaching has recently become increasingly important because of the impact of ICTs on our daily lives. However, many teachers worldwide do not take full advantage of the potential brought by the availability of modern technologies in their daily professional activities.The proposed change to the high school physical science curriculum – the integration of (ICTs) into the subject – is thus likely to depend on teachers’ feelings and abilities. As a result, the researcher examined the practices of the teachers in terms of the ICT resources they may be using and the manner in which they may be using them. The researcher also aimed to answer the question of the type of knowledge the teachers apply in their use and/or integration of ICTs as well as the types of concerns they may be experiencing during the implementation of the ICT-based physical science curriculum. Therefore, the aim of the present studywas to explore the practices, knowledge and concerns of physical science teachers regarding the integration of ICTs into the curriculum in selected Lesotho high schools. As the study is organised into two articles,one of the theoretical frameworks underpinning thefirst article is constructivismbecause this theory emphasises the involvement of the learners in their own learning and so does teaching with ICTs. The other framework that guided the researcher in article 1 is the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) lens, which is widely employed by researchers to assessteachers’ preparedness to teach efficiently with ICTs. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was utilised for the second article to examine the teachers’ beliefs and aptitudes that manifest as concerns because they are capable of influencing the implementation of the integration of ICTs into teaching. Data were collected from a random cluster sample of 23 schools using a questionnaire based on theCBAM stages of concern questionnaire (SoCQ) and the TPACK survey instrument. The statistical analysis software (SAS) was employed to analyse the quantitative data obtained to get the descriptive results and the ANOVA on the two null hypotheses. The first article addresses the teachers’ practices and knowledge. The first set of results discussed in article 1 reveals that 77% of the teachers used ICT resources such as mobile phones, computers and the Internet for teaching while 80% used them outside the classroom. This demonstrates that many teachers used ICTs even though they used them more for other professional activities than for teaching. The study therefore, concludes that Lesotho teachers integrate ICTs into their teaching of physical science. Nonetheless, the physical science teachers need to be supported in a variety of ways in order to increase the percentages of teachers who use and integrate ICTs from 70 and 80 as well as widen their knowledge to the entire array of ICTs to which they have access. The second set of results from article 2 reveal that the teachers’ TPACK mean score was 2.88 and this score was below the average of 3.0 for the Likert points of the items on teachers’ TPACK, which falls on moderate knowledge. This score demonstrates a lower perception of TPACK, which means a lack of understanding of the integration of technology into pedagogy and content.This implies that the teachers may not have the necessary skills for effective integration of ICTs into teaching even though they attempt to integrate them. The mean for PCK was the highest at 3.89.This is indicative of the teachers’ ability to integrate pedagogy into content successfully. Consequently, there is a need to increase the in-service support to teachers for successful integration of technological knowledge into the curriculum in high schools in the kingdom of Lesotho in terms of maximising the use and integration of a variety of technologies. Article 2 considered the teachers’ concerns regarding the integration of ICTs into their teaching. The results examined in article 2 indicate that the most intense concerns are the informational self-concerns with the highest percentile score at 87.5. This implies that most of the teachers had strong stage 1 concerns hence they wanted to find out more information about ICT integration. However, most of the probability values were above the maximum level risk value,α = 0.05, which indicates that there were no significant differences in knowledge and concerns between the various groups of teachers. The researcher thus concluded that the physical science teachers in Lesotho mostly have informational concerns, regardless of their age, gender, type or location of school and years of teaching experience. Most teachers also have enough pedagogical content knowledge even though they lack technological pedagogical content knowledge. Consequently, the main recommendation of this study is for the in-service and pre-service teacher educators to focus more on the integration of technology into pedagogy and content and for the teachers to engage in programmes that can assist them with the integration of emerging technologies. The teachers’ abilities and concerns require intensive investigation in order to provide customised assistance to the teachers.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Obstacles that hamper learners from successfully translating mathematical word problems into number sentences
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Reynders, Amaria; Junqueira, K. E.; Du Toit, D. S.
    Various research studies show that the language ability and Mathematics performance of primary school learners are closely related. In South Africa, as is elsewhere, the language issue at schools has always been shifted from the academic battlefield into the political battlefield. The Minister of Education has always been a politician and therefore the current curriculum in SA is politically inspired and do not always address the needs of learners, according to Sedibe (2003). Many primary school learners with an African background are taught in a second language and not in their mother tongue due to the policy of the National Education Department. It is mostly these learners who find it difficult to relate to the language of instruction and the meaning-making of that language in a Mathematical context. The Annual National Assessment (ANA), an initiative of the National Education Department, shows that most of the primary school learners in South Africa are still not on track concerning Numeracy and Literacy skills. Language barriers for learners who are not taught in their mother tongue lead to misunderstanding regarding Mathematical word problems. The interpretation of word problems has throughout the years been a concern of Mathematics teachers, even if the learners were taught in their mother tongue. The purpose of this study was to investigate, by means of a case study, the barriers primary school learners experience with the translation of mathematical word sums into number sentences. Qualitative research was conducted. The study was grounded in the interpretivist paradigm, hence the reasons for the learners’ problems in converting word problems into number sentences and perations were investigated in real-life situations. Data was collected through observations. Audio-visual material was used. Activities of Grade four learners, from a primary school in the Motheo teaching district of the Free State Province, was recorded audio visually, while being busy with group work. The group work was done in the form of a worksheet, which contained two word problems. The learners had to discuss the word problems in order to compile number sentences. The learners could use any language during their discussions. A Sotho translator translated the discussions into English for analysis purposes. The research findings support the research problem, as it was clear that although learners were presented with word problems in a language other than their mother tongue, they preferred to discuss the content of the word problems in their mother tongue. The main recommendations emerging from this study is that teachers should become more aware of the linguistic issues in learning and teaching Mathematics and must develop tools for talking about language in ways that enable them to engage productively with learners in constructing mathematical knowledge. Teachers in culturally diverse school settings need to develop “tools” to enable learners to understand the mathematical vocabulary better via the language of instruction. The following recommendations regarding these tools can be made. Teachers who teach Mathematics in the foundation phase should compile a Mathematics dictionary as part of their literature studies. These teachers must consult language interpreters in order to find mother tongue words for words that explain mathematical concepts. These words should be repeated regularly throughout their contact time with the learners, even if it is not the Mathematics period. The Mathematical concepts and content must be carried over to non-mother tongue learners in such a way that they can identify the context of their everyday lives in it. Only then will the learners make meaning of word problems and will they be able to compile numbers sentences from the word problem in order to carry out the correct Mathematical operations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teaching and learning of fractions in primary schools in Maseru
    (University of the Free State, 2013-01) Marake, ‘Maphole Georgina; Du Toit, G. F.
    Throughout the world governments and other education stakeholders advocate quality education and education for all. Among others, mathematics education is seen by governments as essential in the advancement of the development of countries. Lesotho is no exception in this regard hence mathematics is one of the core subjects in Lesotho’s education system. Though Mathematics education is seen as pivotal to the development of countries, analysis of mathematics Junior Certificate (JC) examination results in Lesotho indicates that performance in mathematics is not good. This study therefore aspired to investigate teaching strategies predominantly employed by primary mathematics teachers and assess their effect on learners’ meaningful learning of fractions. In order to meet this aim the study attempted to determine what literature said about effective learning and teaching of fractions, the level of training given to mathematics teachers and determine whether effective learning and teaching materialised in the three classrooms that were studied. The existing literature proposed different teaching strategies that resulted in significant learning of fractions. To investigate dominant teaching strategies that teachers used in the teaching of fractions, class observations of three teachers were conducted. Teachers were observed in their classrooms over a period of time and follow-up interviews were conducted. Samples of the teachers’ documents and the learners’ work were analysed to evaluate the extent to which effective learning and teaching of fractions were taking place in these respective classes. Literature indicates that effective learning, of fractions, entails meaningful construction of the concept through handling of concrete materials and formation of relationship between concepts. Effective teaching on the other hand entails the ability to create situations in which learning is facilitated. Teachers are said to possess both mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) and Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in order to be able to teach effectively. In order to fully understand the level of training that the teachers received teacher trainers were interviewed. It was found that teachers did not engage learners in high order reasoning and problem solving, instead they gave close-ended questions which learners answered by practising rules and procedures that teachers taught. Learners therefore did not use their own strategies when writing solutions to questions. It was recommended that teachers should use readily available materials like paper and papers and when planning lessons they should think of possible errors, misconceptions and difficulties that learners were likely to have.