Collaborative teaching and the learning of mathematics at matric level
Ranamane, Nkeke Samuel
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Worldwide the teaching and learning of mathematics pose a great challenge to mathematics teachers as learners' performance in the subject leaves much to be desired. This is particularly the case in South Africa where there was a great disparity in the development of teachers in the past. Extensive research has shown that many teachers in South Africa are under-qualified, especially in the teaching of mathematics at secondary schools. Those who are regarded as well qualified for teaching mathematics at secondary schools still experience problems in teaching certain sections of the syllabus, for example geometry, which is not offered at tertiary institutions. It is for this reason that the researcher, together with colleagues at an experimental school, joined forces to share the teaching of mathematics in what they referred to as "collaborative teaching". This work therefore involves a case study, which resulted after three teachers successfully achieved good matric results on employing this approach between 1993 and 1996. The study is based on an experimental design where both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The aim of the study was to measure the extent to which collaboration between teachers affects the learning of mathematics in Grades 12. Two schools, the experimental school and a control school were involved. Learners from the experimental school were taught according to a collaborative approach whereas learners at the control school were taught conventionally (one teacher teaching all sections alone). This happened over a period of six months in 2001. Learners who were taught collaboratively outperformed those who were taught conventionally especially in the most problematic areas of the syllabus, namely geometry and trigonometry. The teachers who were involved in this approach, that is, collaborators, loved it to the extent that one of them applied it in another school where it improved their Grade 12 results tremendously. Learners who were taught according to this approach greatly appreciated it and wished they had been taught the same way in other subjects. This approach did not, however, significantly influence learners in their problem solving and information processing skills. In addition, one of the most serious limitations of this approach is to find a substitute for a teacher who leaves the team.
- ETD@PUK