An investigation into the provision of authentic teaching and learning experiences in the mathematics classroom
Mrwebi, Mandosi Betty-Sarah
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The provision of authentic teaching and learning in the Mathematics classroom is one of the corner stones of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS). This study investigated to what extent teachers provide authentic teaching and learning in their Mathematics classrooms. A literature study was undertaken to explain authentic teaching and learning. The use of teaching methods and strategies, learning activities, assessment methods and strategies, and the role of the teacher and learner in the context of authentic teaching and learning in the classroom were explored. The literature review provided the conceptual framework for the study; as well as the framework for designing questionnaires and an observation schedule. The questionnaires were utilized to obtain the perceptions of teachers and learners regarding opportunities provided by teachers for the provision of authentic teaching and learning experiences in the Mathematics classroom, and the observation schedule determined how and to what extent the principles of authentic teaching and learning were translated into practice. Data was collected by means of quantitative, non-experimental descriptive survey research. The self-constructed questionnaires were administered to a convenient sample of a purposively selected group of Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 6 Intermediate Phase Mathematics teachers (n = 24) and learners (n = 440) in the Johannesburg South District of the Gauteng Department of Education. In addition to this, the classroom practices of six of the teachers who completed the questionnaire were observed over a period of six months. The triangulation of teacher and learner data revealed similarities and differences in opinion related to the opportunities that teachers create for authentic teaching and learning in the Mathematics classroom. In essence, the data revealed that teachers who took part in the study apparently understand the principles that underpin authentic teaching and learning, and to some extent comply with the principles of authentic teaching and learning in their classrooms. In addition to this, the triangulation of the teacher responses to the questionnaire and the observations of the classroom practices of the teachers indicated that in practice all the application of the principles of authentic teaching, learning and assessment have not yet fully become a reality in the Mathematics classroom. According to the learner responses, to the questionnaire, as well as the observations, it appeared that the application of teaching and assessment strategies that promote authentic teaching and learning are under-utilized by the teachers. This study is concluded with recommendations to teachers on how to create classroom climates that promote the provision of authentic teaching and learning in the Mathematics classroom.
- Education