Publication 6843

Amoonga T. (2010) The use of constructivism in teaching mathematics for understanding: A study of the challenges that hinder effective teaching of mathematics for understanding. In: L. G. C. D. M. B. & I. C. T. (eds.) EDULEARN10 Proceedings CD: Second International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, 5–7 July 2010, Barcelona, Spain. International Association of Technology. Education and Development (IATED), Valencia: 5010–5019.
The major purpose of this study was to investigate factors and challenges that hindered effective teaching of mathematics for understanding in senior secondary schools in the Omusati Education Region in Namibia. The study investigated how the participants dealt with identified challenges in the mathematics classrooms in selected senior secondary schools. Further, the study attempted to establish necessary support and / or training opportunities that mathematics teachers might need to ensure effective application of teaching mathematics for understanding in their regular classrooms. The sample was made up of eight senior secondary schools out of the population of 12 senior secondary schools in the Omusati Education Region. The schools were selected from the school circuits using maximum variation and random sampling techniques. Twenty out of 32 mathematics teachers from eight selected senior secondary schools in the Omusati Education Region responded to the interviews and two lessons per participant were observed. Interviews and observations were used to collect data from the 20 senior secondary school mathematics teachers with respect to teaching mathematics for understanding. Frequency tables, pie charts and bar graphs were used to analyze the data collected. The results indicated that teaching for understanding was little observed in mathematics classrooms. Part of the challenges identified were, overcrowded classrooms, lack of teaching and learning resources, lack of support from advisory teachers, and automatic promotions, among others. Mathematics teachers needed induction programmes, in-service training opportunities, and advisory services amongst others in order to be able to teach mathematics effectively. The study recommended that teaching for understanding should be researched in all subjects in Namibian classrooms and should be made clearly understood by all teachers in order to be able to use and apply it during their teaching. New teachers should be provided with induction programmes to give them support and tools at the beginning of their teaching careers. Further research on teaching for understanding should be conducted in other school subjects in Namibia in order to ensure teaching for understanding across the curriculum.
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