Pedagogic Practices in Teaching Grade 1 Maths Under the Spotlight
A lecturer in the School of Education, Dr Blanche Ndlovu, graduated with a PhD in Education after completing research examining the understanding of teachers about their learning theories on pedagogic practices in teaching mathematical concepts in Grade 1.
Her study emanates from the findings of the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) Report and from research, indicating that there is a crisis in the area of teaching and learning mathematics in primary schools in South Africa.
‘Mathematics teachers remain critical role players in ensuring quality teaching and learning as they are the curriculum implementers but they seem to lack the crucial support that underpins improved learner performance,’ said Ndlovu.
‘Forming a solid and a broad mathematical foundation on mathematical concepts - such as numbers and operations, geometry and spatial sense, and measurement, with algebra and data analysis playing supporting roles - is one of the goals to unpack how teachers teach Mathematics to achieve their goals when teaching the subject,’ explained Ndlovu.
She noted that it was evident from research that learners in Grade 1 found mathematical concepts challenging and thus many performed poorly.
‘Even though primary school teachers understand officially sanctioned pedagogical practices for mathematics, such as learner-centeredness and collaborative learning, they were faced with multiple challenges in their efforts to implement their understating of pedagogical practices as there were challenges with the shortage of resources.
‘Therefore, it is impossible for them to implement the rationale, aims and objectives in the content for mathematics teaching. Vigorous innovation on teachers understanding would keep them well-informed about pedagogic theories and content knowledge to enable them to attain the required level of knowledge and understanding of their practice,’ said Ndlovu.
‘It is quite a milestone as I am the very first person in my family to get a Doctoral degree. I thank my whole family - including my sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews and grandchildren. I hope they will take the baton and run with it.’
She also dedicated her PhD to her late parents Mildred and Philip Radebe, and her late sisters, Ncane Radebe-Ntuli, Gladness Thembi Radebe-Sithole and Lynette Suzan Radebe.