Digital storytelling as Mathematics teaching strategy to encourage positive learner engagement in the Foundation Phase
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Mathematics is a subject that generally awakens negative feelings in many learners, and even teachers. These negative feelings may be due to how the subject was taught, rather than a dislike of the learning area per se. Since it is important that sufficient learners enter the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-sector (STEM-sector), this study aimed to address the need for Foundation Phase teachers to use teaching methods that will promote positive learner engagement with Mathematics from an early age. Interactive digital storytelling has proven to be a suitable strategy for encouraging learner engagement. Guided by the sociocultural theory of learning, the cognitive theory for multimedia learning and the ABC-model of attitudes, I worked collaboratively with purposively selected Foundation Phase teachers in an action research design, to design, implement and evaluate the use of digital stories, produced using a simple app (ComPhone™) that Foundation Phase learners could master. As per usual in Participatory Action Research (PAR), there were two cycles that were followed to generate data. The first cycle consisted out of the identification and realisation of the challenge that the participant teachers face with the teaching of Mathematics and identifying their own feelings about Mathematics and teaching it to Foundation Phase learners. Cycle two consisted out of planning for action to address the identified issues of cycle one and reflecting on the effectiveness of digital storytelling as teaching method to address the challenges. Data were generated from taped action learning sets, and classroom observations, as well as from the digital artefacts created in the study. The data was content analysed, using stringent methods to enhance trustworthiness. The participant teachers identified the overcrowded syllabus, gaps in the grades and learner understanding and time allocation as the major challenges they face with teaching Mathematics. These challenges reported to have a negative influence on their teaching of Mathematics. The collaborative PAR-process also enabled a collegial relationship amongst the participant teachers of this study, which in effect could improve their teaching. Findings of this study indicated that using digital storytelling as Mathematics teaching strategy in the Foundation Phase can enhance positive learner engagement. This study indicated the importance of factors impacting teachers’ teaching strategies towards Mathematics and how these factors can be addressed to make teachers more positive about teaching Mathematics, which subsequently lend to more positive learning experiences for the learners. Guidelines were determined to help teachers in the future to incorporate digital storytelling into their teaching methods. These guidelines can serve as a tool to help increase digital methods in education to enhance learner engagement in different disciplines nationally and internationally.
- Education