Exploring common algebraic expression challenges in a Grade 10 mathematics classroom

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Musi, Sophie
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University of the Free State
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.
Dissertation (M.Ed. (Mathematics Education))--University of the Free State, 2023
Algebra, algebraic expression, approach, common challenges, models