Mathematical knowledge for secondary school teaching : exploring the perspectives of South African research mathematicians
Labuschagne, Sheila Elizabeth
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School mathematics education in South Africa is not doing very well at present, and has not done so for some time. There are many problems, historically and socially. However, amidst such a problematic situation, there are mathematicians who completed their school education in South Africa and have become excellent in their field. As a mathematics teacher, I explored the stories of such research mathematicians, specifically examining their perspectives of mathematical knowledge for teaching. Avoiding all abbreviations and acronyms, in an attempt to make this study more accessible to teachers, I used an interpretive narrative research design and email-interviewed a number of these mathematicians, analysed the generated data in three ways and then compared the results and findings with those of leading researchers and mathematics educationists. All of them consider a teachers‘ mathematical content knowledge to be of utmost importance. Not one of the mathematicians worked alone to gain their knowledge and understanding of mathematics, but collaborated in some way with teachers, parents or fellow learners. In addition, according to them, the use of different types of knowledge is instrumental for teachers, to realise the goal of meaningful learning of mathematical concepts. To this end, effective continuous professional development is essential.
- Education 
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