Original Research: Mathematics Education

Mathematics teachers’ reflective practice and the quality of their instruction.

A. Barbara Posthuma
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 31, No 1 | a365 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v31i1.365 | © 2012 A. Barbara Posthuma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 June 2012 | Published: 16 November 2012

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A. Barbara Posthuma, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Researchers and theorists differ whether teachers’ reflection on their classroom practices and teaching mathematics effectively are linked or not. This study aims to align the benefits of reflective practice with the quality of education and the learning of mathematics. A qualitative case study was conducted with five mathematics teachers at a high school in a rural area of the Free State. Data were collected by conducting interviews and observing lesson presentations. The reflective aspect was evaluated by employing Lee’s (2005) three levels of reflection – ‘recall level’, ‘rationalisation level’ and ‘reflective level’. The quality of the teachers’ mathematics instruction was compared to the principles for effective teaching set by Anthony and Walshaw (2009). The study found that there was indeed a link between the teachers’ reflective classroom practice and their effectiveness in facilitating the learning of mathematics. The teachers who were more reflective in the preparation and presentation of their lessons, were also evaluated to be more effective teachers than those who were less reflective. The results of the study have implications for the professional development of practising teachers – not only due to the fact that teachers should be trained and encouraged to reflect on their teaching and the learning of mathematics, but also because they have to discuss the effective teaching of mathematics cooperatively with their fellow teachers.

Keywords

Wiskunde-onderrig; reflektiewe klaskamerpraktyk; effektiewe onderrig van wiskunde; gehalte-onderrig van wiskunde

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