A model for an open-ended task-based approach in grade 11 mathematics classes
Mahlobo, Radley Kebarapetse
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In this investigation, two schools - a control school and an experimental school – were compared in terms of learner performance in two traditional grade 11 mathematics tests, namely the pre-intervention test and the post-intervention test. Both schools completed the two tests simultaneously. Educators saw both tests before intervention. In the experimental school, four grade 11 mathematics classes were studied. The four classes were given worksheets that complied with an open-ended approach (OEA) to mathematics teaching and learning for learners to work independently on, with the teacher only facilitating. The learner-centredness expressed in the OEA complied with learner-centredness as envisaged by the National Curriculum Statement (NCS), and was predominantly constructivist in character. Throughout the five-month intervention, the author observed proceedings in two of the four classes in the experimental school, ensuring that questions the teacher asked complied with the OEA. The two classes would be referred to as monitored classes. The other two classes at the experimental school worked on the worksheet, with the teacher having been briefed about what was expected of the learners using the worksheet -basically that the learners would have to take own initiatives in solving the mathematics problems with minimal teacher intervention. The two grade 11 mathematics classes were monitored, but not as frequently as the monitored classes. The classes will be referred to as unmonitored classes. At the control school the educators followed their usual (traditional) teaching approach. Both the experimental and control schools followed the same grade 11 mathematics work schedule. The educators in the control school taught without any interference from the author, but the classes at the control school were occasionally observed by the author. In addition to the intervention comparison, the author also gathered qualitative information about participating educators' and learners' experiences and opinions about the OEA at the experimental school by using interviews. The results of the pre-intervention test showed no statistical difference between the experimental and control school performance, meaning that the learners from both schools were of comparable pre-requisite knowledge. In the post-intervention test, learners from the two monitored classes meaningfully outperformed those from the two unmonitored experimental classes and those from the control school. However, there was no significant difference in performance between learners from the two unmonitored classes and those from control school, The study concludes that the appropriate OEA intervention was responsible for the good results of the monitored classes., and then uses the gathered qualitative information to design a model for the successful implementation of' OEA in mathematics classes.
- Education